When I was in eight grade, I dated a boy named Miles. We attended the same middle school (7th – 12th) and his mother worked there. At the time, his family was doing well financially while my family was not. I was cute, got good grades and had good manners, but since I wasn’t raised in a more affluent family I didn’t have certain social graces or access to the cash that would gloss over those deficiencies.
For whatever reason, Miles liked me anyway. For Christmas, he bought me a Christian Dior perfume set. For my birthday, he bought 12 white roses and had them sit in green food coloring for a while to change the blooms to kelly green, my favorite color. I specifically remember him taking me to an event that I didn’t have clothes for and didn’t have the money to buy an outfit. When I showed up in my mom’s too-big dress, his mother looked horrified and we quickly went to the mall. After that, she’d take me shopping periodically.
At first, I was a bit ashamed that this was necessary. Things were so bad at my house that my gym instructor gave me a pair of her old shoes to wear, and I was happy to have them. It took a while for Miles’ mom to start to like me. My guess is that she realized that though I was poor, I was smart and I had ambition. She wanted the best for son. The. Best. I can’t fault her, now that I’m a parent I’ve become her.
She wanted a first-class education for her son.
She wanted to see her son partnered with someone that would help him succeed.
She was able to see that I was raised well, though poor.
She encouraged me to grow and taught me things.
When I was younger, I kinda thought she hated me. Now that I’m a bit older I can see that she just trying to go right by her son. I hope that as my son gets older, I’ll be as determined about making sure that he has a good life.