Make do or do without. My grandmother constantly said this to us as she expertly collected, ironed, and saved used wrapping paper and ribbons. She also taught me some preliminary drawing skills, basic sewing, had oodles of National Geographic magazines for me to pour over, an actually delicious fruit cake recipe, and got me hooked on butterscotch flavored anything.
I was always perplexed by her– she was so old. My parents both were late-in-life babies. Happy accidents. So by the time I came along, she was much older. I was always perplexed by her stories of being young in the Great Depression. The way her family had to scrimp and save just to put food on the table. The work she had to do.
My grandparents on my mother’s side had much the same tough-as-nails life. Immigrants from Poland, they came here young, with the war at their heels. Seeking jobs and the American dream– a better life for their future children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
I think they would be proud of the progress that has come to women and the shape motherhood has taken in some respects. But if they were to look closely at my life, I think I would feel greatly ashamed for how wasteful I’ve been. They were true DIY-ers. Feminine MacGyvers (minus the exploding)- that ran the house, raised the kids, and generally just made do. I do know that years of tough-life for both my grandmothers made them tough people in general — not the warm fuzzy moms that most strive to be. I don’t want that– but I want- no I need- more than an ounce of their resourcefulness and a cupful of their moxie.
In the spirit of my grandmothers, we are going to post when/how we decide to “Make Do or Do Without” whenever there are things that come to us in life that have us staring into our wallets waiting to make a purchase.
My two examples today:
- I have an upcoming trip, for which I was hoping to purchase a new suitcase. Make Do: as raggedy as it is, it hasn’t broken yet, and doesn’t need to be replaced. Isn’t that what DuctTape is for?
- Also for upcoming trip: I don’t have a purse/bag that isn’t a diaper bag. It may fool you into thinking it is a proper purse- but it isn’t. It’s a glorified diaper holder– and has seen its share of spills. I wanted a bag for my kid-free trip. Make Do: as fabulous as the new bag would be for the trip, I will likely never, ever, ever use it again in my real life– I have 3 kids. Until they start to carry their own stuff, I’m a two-legged mule. Practicality always wins. Well, no. It doesn’t. This time it did. So my diaper-bag-come-purse is going to be taking to the friendly skies with me in about two weeks. Look for me at O’Hare. I’ll be the only woman carrying a Skip Hop with no kids in sight.