On the ride home from school, I found myself in a conundrum when my eight-year-old daughter asked, “Mom, are we rich or poor now?” My little girl was savvy enough to know that we had very recently been, by definition, “poor.”
As the only parent of three small children, the kids knew what being “poor” was while I was unemployed. They heard me mutter it when I refused them the goodies at the store, or denied them going to a friend’s birthday party because we could not afford a gift. We knew not having enough money to buy more than staple foods, not having enough gas to make it to school, and certainly not enough for brand new items. The kids knew about being cold when I shut off the heat at night and made a tent of blankets over my bed where we all snuggled to keep warm and save on the gas bill.