My Dad is originally from Italy. He came to America on a boat with his Mom, Dad and 3 siblings in 1955. My Dad was 9 and only spoke Italian. He was put in an American school and had to learn every day class work along with English. At 18, he did what most young men did and joined the Army.
Here he is lifting weights.
And here he is lifting his army buddy.
My Mom's sister was also in the Army and while my Mom was visiting her in Fort Hood, Texas, she met my Dad. This is one of my favorite pictures of my parents (they are now divorced).
They were married a year or so after that and my sister was born. They lived in New York, but since my Mom was from Arizona, they wanted to move here. And they did just that in 1969. My Dad got work as a laborer. He always told us a story about how the chuck wagon pulled up during a break and he wanted a soda so bad. He had one quarter in his pocket, one quarter to his name. He needed to get bread and a can of tuna fish for dinner for his family. He didn't get the soda.
And that about sums up my Dad's life. He didn't get the soda. He always did whatever he had to do to help his family. My Dad is the hardest working man I know. When I was a kid, he was usually out the door before I even woke up and he'd come home at dinner time every night. He worked for several elevator companies as the low man on the totem pole and worked his way up. He'd always come home from work dirty. He'd squirt a little Palmolive dish soap in his hand and work up a lather. Not just any lather, he'd clean all the way up to his elbows on both arms, rip off a paper towel to dry his hands and he was ready to go be a family man. My Dad worked hard.
And now that he is retired, he gets to play hard too. Golfing during the winters in Phoenix and enjoying his summer riverfront cabin in Idaho with my Stepmom Suzy, he's finally got a piece of the pie and he's earned every bite.
My Dad had the American dream of owning his own business. In 1987, he bought a Dunkin Donuts. And I went to work. Friday nights were spent cheering for the football or basketball team and hanging out with friends. I'd get home late and wake up before the sun the next morning and go to work with my Dad. No make up on, hideous donut smock and hair in a banana clip. I was 13.
But you know the saying, It's time to make the donuts and so we did for the next 15 years. I paused from making some boston creme to pose with my Dad.
My Dad opened a Texaco and Cousins subs in 1999 and I managed that for him for six years. Then, I had Emily. I went back to work after 4 weeks off. I took her with me. I had a pack and play and swing in the office and I'd breastfeed and count money at the same time. When it was time to take inventory, I'd put her in a sling in front of me and we went to work. I didn't want to put her in daycare. A few months later, my Dad sold the Texaco and I became unemployed after working for almost 20 years.
I learned how to work hard from my father. That's all I had ever known. Then, I officially became a stay at home Mom. At first I thought I'd feel a little lost, not having a "real" purpose every day. But having a baby and home to take care of and getting pregnant again quickly didn't leave me any time to dwell on it. My responsibility list grew and the pay was smiles and giggles instead of a check.
Honestly, I've never worked so hard in my life as I have in the past 6 years. Financially, we've done alright and I'm so glad that I've never had to put my kids in daycare. I've been there for every first step, new food, illness and head bump. I've been pooped on, puked on and gotten kisses with a mouthful of saliva and I wouldn't change a second of it.
Because of David's pay cuts, I got into using coupons about 6 months ago. I was instantly hooked when I realized I could easily cut our grocery bill in half. I started following a few money saving mom blogs and I found bargain believer.com which is my favorite site because she is local. I would send her e-mails about deals I found here or there or thank her for her lists. She matches sale items with coupons and makes it very easy to save money. One thing lead to another and I'm now working for her doing CVS, Walgreens and Target lists every week. You can read about it
This is the perfect opportunity for me. I love using coupons and love helping people use coupons, and I can work while Noah takes his nap every day. I can make a little extra money and still be available if my baby needs to puke on me. It's a win/win or maybe that's always a win/lose.
The other night, I was updating the CVS list and Emily called for me. I yelled back, "Mommy's working". It took a moment for that to sink in...and I had to smile.