Something is occurring to me about my frame of mind:
*there will always be kids’ issues to tackle and battle, straightening and picking up in the house, unfinished projects, dishes to do.
*there will always be times when Dan’s away, spaces between my parent’s visits, days without friends.
*I’ll always be pre, post, or having periods, or having a cold, sore throat or canchor sores or detergent burn, needing a haircut; underweight, overweight, having a tooth problem, broken fingernails.
*there will always be people more organized, more stylish, with better kids, or worse, neater houses and cars, greater spiritual gifts and fantastic hobbies.
*our house will always be in stages of getting finished, we will always have free/used furniture, and I will always be dealing with mud.
*I’ll always have hand-me-downs, only a couple of shoes.
So why not realize the vanity of wishing things could be different and of being discouraged. My family pattern is not like when I was living at home. So what??? Where would I rather be? There is no contest: I am GLAD I am right here!
I remembered today (March 18, 2017) that I had a box of our old calendars in the garage. It appears I have all the years from 1977 to 2016!
Consulting the 1982 wall calendar, I noticed we had a very busy life: we scheduled lunches and dinners with friends 3 or 4 or 5 times a month and caught every special speaker at church. Dan was working part-time in the next town, Carson City, pre-recording his daily program at KNIS, the Christian radio station. We were sick quite a bit with colds and went to the pediatrician’s office for well-baby checks and sick visits a couple or a few times a month. Dan was attending the leadership class at church called the Servant’s Class one night a week, and the boys and I were in a Bible study/mothers’ support group a couple of mornings a month at my friend Michelle’s house.
We hosted a Bible study on Wednesday nights at our house and later attended one at the home of another family.
AND THEN, I was strongly encouraged by a good friend to take a position at the Christian school teaching science to the junior high kids. I was not qualified and not confident and I can’t fake anything. Yet, I succumbed to her enthusiasm that I could do it and that it would be great. It lasted a month and my journal reports that it was encouraging to be with the other solid Christian teachers and school staff and that I did okay with the students. The good that came out of it was that I knew I wanted to raise my kids myself, and not turn them over to a babysitter for a few hours every day and have her raise them. So that was that.
We tried the Natural Family Planning system of birth control through the Catholic Church. I had to do a daily charting which I will not describe, and a nun wearing a gray and white mid-length dress and a headscarf, Sister Julianna, came to see us once a month for consultation. After dinner one night, I remember her good-natured laugh as she watched Timmy and Stephen zipping gleefully around the living room: “They feed off each other, don’t they?”
And they did.
The new baby, now four months old, would be be joining their rambunctiousness soon. [And with another new little brother joining the ranks in a year-and-a-half, it was a bustling life we lived, especially as little boys are tireless!]
My sister, Marsha (born in 1948) and I (born in 1945) say that we had a Leave It to Beaver childhood.
Leave It to Beaver was a sitcom in the early 1960’s, in which the parents were hard workers (she at home, he at the office), loved their two sons, and took their parenting seriously. Rather than having all of the answers, Ward and June worked with their sons to figure things out. Their home was comfortable and all of their problems were manageable.
Marsha and I grew up in the security and innocence of the late 1940’s and the decade of the 1950’s knowing we were very loved. Connie (born in 1953) enjoyed a good start like we did, but by the time she got to middle school and high school society had changed a lot and life was more challenging for her than it had been for us.
Our parents loved each other and they loved us. We were their focus. Our home was very stable and happy. Our small house was kept clean and tidy; our clothes were washed and ironed. We ate every meal together at the kitchen table. For dinners our mom fixed meat and potatoes and vegetables and home-made desserts, and fish on Fridays.
When we were young, Mom, Grayce, enrolled us in dance lessons, swimming lessons, and gave us birthday parties. She made us Halloween costumes, and many church and school dresses. She bought us Sunday hats and gloves, and polished our white Easter shoes. After school, she had snacks ready for us and was excited to hear about our day.
Our Dad, George, was the rock of our family. He was a quiet man who went to work every day at 7:55 and was home every night (except for the Elk’s club meetings once a month) a few minutes after 5. He built us a playhouse, set up the tether ball pole, taught us to ride our bikes, and how to drive a car. He took us to church every Sunday and to confession every two or three months.
Daddy was more than a provider; he was a fan of his girls. We each knew that he and our mom loved us unconditionally. When he spanked us (because we deserved it), it truly hurt him more than it did us. We knew that there was a deep mercy inside him for each of us.
When troubles came, and they did, our nuclear family foundation was firm and our relationships were laced with love. Even in our extended family, love won–over and over again. Disclaimer: one woman who married into the family moved herself to the fringe of the group through her very critical spirit. We tried to keep a good attitude about her and kept welcoming her back, but she became embittered.
I mentioned that our parents were social drinkers and that it was always a positive part of our family life. At some point daddy began using alcohol as an escape from a troubled relationship with his brother, who was his business partner, and from the stress of being a small business owner and paying taxes every quarter. Daddy and Walt had carried on their father’s tractor sales and implement business. Uncle Walt was the office manager and daddy was the mechanic.
I’m sure daddy had also taken refuge in alcohol as an escape from the worries and sorrows that we three girls caused him as we were making our way into adulthood.