The Sock Drawer
Annie fondled the handle of her teacup nervously, as I put the muffins on to the plate.
“So, how is your job going?” I asked.
“Yes, he is good,” she said, not making any sense.
“Do you want butter on your muffin?”
“Just one sugar, thanks.”
Her mind seemed a million miles away. I knew something was wrong, but I decided to let her volunteer the information. Suddenly she burst out into tears, blurting out, “I’m pregnant with number 3!”
I decided to respond with my usual excitement over pregnancy news and said, “Congratulations!”
“How can I possibly raise three children in my tiny, two-bedroom apartment?” she wept.
“Your child is so lucky,” I consoled. “You are such a great mum.”
“But I won’t have enough space for the next child’s clothes, toys and our home computer. I always wanted my children to have their own rooms and go on holidays. I want them to see the world and this will never be possible!”
“You can still have a great life with three children, even in your current living situation.”
I put the muffins in front of her and said,
“My parents found out that they were expecting a child at the ripe old age of 18. They were probably beside themselves with worry. They were still living with their parents, had no money in the bank and definitely no plans for children.”
“When I was born, they lived with my grandparents at the beginning. They worked night and day to save for a house. In the meantime, our home was my grandparents’ garage.”
“You lived in a garage?”
“Yeah, but it was tastefully decorated with a flowery orange couch, had a lime green shag rug, complete with matching curtains. It was the 1970’s after all!”
Finally, a small smile broke through on Annie's sad face, so I continued.
“There wasn’t a bedroom for a little baby, so they took the doors off the closet and decorated the tiny space with beautiful wallpaper, lace and a hand-made baby quilt to hang above the little bassinet. It fit perfectly into the little space and that, my friend, was my first bedroom!”
“Wow!” She smiled with surprise.
“It gets better too. When we went out one night to visit friends, no one had spare baby beds around because no one had babies yet. My parents were forced to be creative and emptied out a sock drawer, lined it with soft blankets. I would sleep in that for the evening, happy as can be.”
Annie frowned and said,
“Okay, so they managed to live in a small space, but you would not have been able to travel with young parents. They would have been struggling financially. I am really going to be struggling!”
I rested my hand on hers and replied,
“We managed to go on holidays, although we didn’t stay in 5-star hotels and lovely resorts. We camped. I saw all of Canada from the East coast to the West coast in a Volkswagen Kombi van. I had no idea about my parents’ financial situation growing up. I had no recollection of sleeping in a sock drawer or having a garage apartment as a newborn. But I do remember having a big family around and parents who loved me. So, in a way, we were wealthy where it really counted.”
She looked at me and barely able to speak. I moved my hand from hers, stood up and grabbed hold of the tissue box, a pen and some paper.
“Okay,” I said sitting back down and giving her a tissue. “Let’s make a plan on how to rearrangement your apartment.”
Annie wiped her eyes and sounding overwhelmed she said,
“I don’t know where to start.”
“That’s okay because I do. Now, how many sock drawers do you have?”
Instead of bursting out with tears Annie burst out laughing.