Over the last year, no – more like the last three years – I’ve started thinking in terms of another generation. Not that I can engage my grandparents in the discussion, as they’ve all passed away. Instead, I’m looking at the way they lived their lives. Patiently, frugally. Not grasping or demanding. There were no expectations that someone else would provide for their needs. They worked and waited, saving toward things they needed and grateful for gifts they were given. Both families, both my mother’s and father’s, had a good number of kids. Dad’s family had ten that reached adulthood, and Mom’s had six. Both mothers lost a baby. There was never an abundance in either household. Dad’s father was a truck driver. Mom’s was a carpenter who was regularly unemployed. Both families managed to send their children to parochial schools. My maternal grandmother babysat and took in ironing for years in order to feed and clothe her children.

There are many, many details, and much wisdom to be gained from looking at their lives. As I’ve talked with my mother and other relatives, I’m piecing together some thoughts, and realizing some changes that we’ve made and will likely make in the near future to our lifestyle that relate to the conclusions I’m reaching. In the coming weeks, I hope to share some of them with you.