I grew up with piles of coupons and paper scattered all around the house. I know what it's like to wake up at 8am to go get newspapers, just to find out that they've all been taken by fellow couponers in the area. I understand the stress of going through a checkout line and being questioned about the legitimacy of each and every coupon, although they're all clearly straight from an ad.
I was introduced to these things as a young child, and over the years I've learned how to deal with them. I'm sixteen now, and I know that when I begin driving, I'll be taking on a whole new set of responsibilities. No more dropping me off at the front door of Kroger and picking me up in the same place 10 minutes later. No more taking up for me when the cashier refuses to take my coupons.
As much as my mom wishes she could be there for me for the rest of my life, we both know that one day she will have to leave me. The woman's only 45 and she just had her second open heart surgery. The thought of her leaving me someday is scary. But I am confident in her and the things she's taught me. The most important thing of all: giving.
My mother has always been a very generous person. So it didn't surprise me when she began making gift baskets of the items on our "stock shelves". From toothpaste to food to toilet paper, she made sure to give away just as much as she was getting. When we heard certain families had lost jobs or weren't doing so great, we'd create large boxes full of goodies and drive them to their houses. Their reactions were my favorite part. They were always so appreciative, sometimes crying and thanking us several times. It feels so great being able to reach out and help someone, and actually knowing that you're making a difference in their lives. But as much as we were donating and giving away, our shelves never emptied. We've never gone without anything.
So as hectic and messy as it may be, I will continue couponing with my mommy until she no longer can. I only hope I will be half as loving and generous as my mother; the coupon queen.
By Alygator from Louisville, KY
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Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman. Even though the first half of your story kind of "dissed" her, the second half explained why she did what she did. Sometimes, parents don't always reveal to their kids why they do something, but now you know.
By continuing to help her, you are validating her worth and her sacrifice to keep things you and she needed in the house. And, to help others when they needed it.
But, in case she doesn't know, tell her before it's too late. Tell her you understand that she was controlling the few aspects of her life that she could, and not following your father's example.
When we grow up, we either emulate our parents or do just the opposite of them. Everyone has coupon'd in their lives, and it's a great way to save money. Perhaps if you choose to you can do it in moderation and honor her without going overboard.
I hope you remember her fondly, quirks and all.
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