Bill and I, like most couples we know, started our lives together on a shoestring. Bill has always been in construction, and we rode ups and downs for many years. Our food budget was always the hardest hit, and I got very creative keeping the kids fed. The day Brittany turned eight, was right after our 15th paycheck. The check on the first went to rent, and food, and that was it. The one on the 15th was more flexible. It went for utilities, food, and whatever extra we absolutely needed. Brittany turned eight on the 19th, right after our check had cleared and I had a few dollars. But, I didn't have a car. So, I loaded 2 year old Hunter and 9 month old Chandler into the stroller, clamped 4yr old Kailey's hand to the stroller, and set off with Brittany and almost 7 yr old Cory to the strip mall 1/2 a mile away. All that was there was a Hallmark store, so we went in. For her birthday she got a copy of the Secret Garden, a cute little statuette, and a couple things of candy. I felt bad that I had to drag her, and she didn't get any surprises. We then wandered thru the grocery store and got a cake mix, some frosting, and decorations.
We walked home. I wanted to cry that I couldn't do better for her. But, she never complained.
Fast forward 12 1/2 years. It is now time for my youngest to turn eight. And how different are our circumstances. We are in no way financially solvent, but we are getting closer every day. We are throwing Tyler a BBQ jumper party. Same thing we did for Cameryn in January. I told Tyler she could pick anything she wanted for her party and that is what she wanted. Bill told me today to rent either a popcorn machine..or a cotton candy machine. We are also taking the kids to Disneyland to celebrate. Now, we have passes, so our put out is just gas. But the contrast is stark in my mind. How I wish I could go back and fix Brittany's eighth birthday, and give her some of Tyler's good fortune.