This sounds exactly like my mother's own start to life. Her father died at the age of 4 and her mother also had 7 other children to feed - a community that didn't want to buy her market garden goods as she was a woman.
She was lucky though - she also got one meal a day - lovingly prepared by her mother from treasures from their garden.
Mum never dwelled...even on the moments where a man did enter their lives - causing havoc instead of bringing a sense of security as her mother intended. She doesn't talk about it, but I have heard some of the stories.
Thank you for sharing the lesson you learned from you Mum. I know I will think on this longer.
Thank you as always for being you.