Back Home Where Life Was Stable

On a chilly day a few years ago, I shared a bit to eat with my mom –– a very special lady who blessed our lives for decades. A friend sent a picture a couple days ago that captured that event, but I can’t seem to capture it on Facebook where I first mentioned how often  I think of my parents, I realize how very, very blessed I was. Any photo is dear to me.
      Ours was a safe and secure home where, though we didn’t necessarily hear “I love you” very often, we NEVER doubted that we were loved or that our parents would give the hours and strength of their lives to help make life as good for us as they could without giving us things that would distract us from goals they hoped we would pursue, at least not distract us long-term.
They couldn’t “buy” us college, but working to make that happen was good for us.
 We didn’t wear high fashion and sometimes hand-me-downs, but our clothes were clean when we started the day. Our parents’ new dudes were even more rare than ours. That’s just one of the numerous ways they sacrificed. Mom always wanted to be sure Dad wore decent clothes to go to town or to the doctor – more about that another time.
We learned to sweat but that was appreciated because it helped keep the farm going and without saying so, we realized we could contribute to the farm’s success.
I can’t think of a time I ate alone – at least not until I moved away. Under our parents’ roof, if we were home, we ate together. We talked about our day and heard about what was going on for others, too. Our table was the favorite place in our house and yes, Mom was a good cook, but it was our gathering place. One of the items truly cherished was Mom’s handwritten recipe book and my sister does a great job of protecting that as a treasure – and using it sometimes when we visit. Yum!
Many nights during high school, I’d end up at the table at ten p.m. for hot tea with Mom and Dad. Mom and I would do math together. Dad would finish his tea and start dozing in a nearby recliner to be available if a word problem stumped us. We all graduated from the same high school as our parents, but Dad was at a stage where he only did algebra in his head and we’d have to work for the answer with paper and pencil. When the house got really chilly, Dad would ask if he needed to add more wood to the furnace of if we were about finished. Usually we’d sip the last of our tea, say our goodnights, and I’d head to the cold upstairs where flannel sheets made it a little bit easier to start to get warm. Most winter mornings, my siblings would agree that we could reach out and use our fingernails to etch in the frost on our windows, dreading how cold it would be to get out from under the thick wool comforters on each of our beds.
 After I moved away, I bought an enamel Swedish teapot with two Swedish mugs for Mom and Dad (Mom was a full blood Swede and Dad was English mostly) as a reminder of those late night algebra and geometry sessions .. but mostly of the special hours together when the house was quiet and chilling down. This ole world would be a better place if more parents were like the ones we had.

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