It Takes A Village

A colleague reminded me this week that we all have people in our circle who watch over us. She referred to the support system as a village, which has left me thinking.

In the world of teaching, we often feel isolated. It sounds funny, that a unit of like-minded people could work together, yet separately, and feel lonely. After all, we have little people all around us and we work with a large number of adults. However, the reality is that we have little time for personal social interaction.

Some people are perfectly happy being alone. I am not.

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My favorite time period of teaching was the 13 years that I team taught. My co-teacher and I worked like a finely tuned machine. Her strengths were my weaknesses and mine were hers. We complimented each other. We worked primarily in the portable classrooms, just outside of the school building, and renamed it the Learning Cottage. We created our own village. We all loved it out there. It was like a little 2-room schoolhouse that included 40 children. Quite honestly, it was at the highlight of my teaching.

We weren’t made to live in isolation. Even wolves travel in packs. I think we were designed to be part of like-minded groups. Those units shift and change, but I believe that I am a better me when I am around loyal people with like-goals, who sincerely want to be with me.

We live in a naturally competitive society and I am not competitive in any way shape or form. I don’t want to ever draw attention to myself. I don’t like confrontation. I want to blend in. I am a team player, and have very high expectations for myself and others within my small village.

I am faithful to a fault, and sometimes I get burned because I am so trusting. Sometimes in a pack, wolves turn on the old and the fragile. I am not old, but I’ll admit that I am fragile. Sometimes it takes my whole village to keep me moving forward. I am so thankful for them.

A small Gift Card is often left in my school mailbox to help with groceries. I am so thankful for the anonymous villager who is quietly watching over me. It helps to ward off the loneliness. You’d be surprised at how many times that card has pushed us through- the exact amount needed to get us to the next paycheck. Whoever you are, I pray that you are reading this. I am so thankful for your commitment to making me feel cared for.

Our world has become much smaller as my favorite man forgets people he rarely sees. I find it interesting that he talks about people as we pass by their homes. However, if those same people pop into our house, he often doesn’t know who they are. He is lonely, but he doesn’t want to see people. It’s too scary because they know him and he doesn’t know them. (If I think about it, if a stranger showed up insisting he knew me and I didn’t recognize him, I would be terrified and I wouldn’t want to let him in.) We don’t travel very far or for very long. It’s too scary. This means that our short outings are predictable, and generally places where he won’t run into anyone.

A few years ago, I shared our dilemma with our pastor. His response: if people (the village) don’t come to me, then I (because he won’t go) need to go to the village. The snag is that I am needed at home as soon as school is over. My guy paces and waits for me by the window every afternoon, waiting for my return.

So, to the faithful members of my small village: you know who you are, THANK YOU. You give me strength, encouragement, and talk me off the ledge when my nerves seem like they cannot withstand one more obstacle.

Today I am thankful for the sweet moments that I get to share with my favorite man and that I am not alone.

May the members of our individual villages be patient in tribulation, bless those who persecute us, and abhor evil. My prayer is that everyone is a part of a intimate village that lifts and encourages one another no matter what the time and the hour. May we use our individual gifts to strengthen each another. Together may we all rejoice in hope, cleave to what is good, and always display love. May we not go through the motions, but instead, be a wise and cheerful blessing. (Romans 12)

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Happy National Coffee Day!

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“Buy one, get one free” brought a smile to my favorite man’s face and a put a twinkle in his eye today. This has brought me joy beyond all measure.

Today has been a foggy day. He has them once in a while. Coffee, a walk, leaf peeping, and a trip to the grocery store made my favorite man’s day. He is now peacefully napping and I hope that he is dreaming of LOVE. I pray that he feels the warm feeling of a family that insists on focusing on what he can do today, what he can remember in the moment, and that his heart and our hearts will forever be entwined.

Coffee is one thing that keeps him with us and makes all the difference. So from our family to yours, Happy National Coffee Day! May it be as good for you as it has been for us.

 

The Dementia World

I haven’t written about the world of Dementia for a while for a variety of reasons. One, is simply because there has been little to write about. Things have stayed rather stagnant for a while. Another, is because my children don’t like to read about it. It is our reality, but they try not have it be the focus of our existence, and I can appreciate that.

That being said, I share our story for two major purposes: to inform and to educate. I feel strongly that my responsibility is to be transparent in order to keep friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors updated so that they don’t have to ask. There are also followers who either have lived, are living, or will live through dementia in some capacity. The disease doesn’t show favoritism and you never know when it will come knocking at the door of a friend or family member.

A third reason, and the most important one for me, is for therapy. I process by communicating. When life’s circumstances bog me down, writing forces me to organize my thoughts. Strange as it might seem, it works as a sort of detox for my brain.

Today I wish to inform or educate, and at the very least, detox. So, here goes…

Five and a half years ago, I was angry. That was when my 47-year old husband was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia, most likely caused by too many blows to the head. But if it were possible to go back and console my younger self, these are some things that I might say:

Dear Younger Me,

I know that you are running around like an idiot trying to get those 25 things that the support group gave you, completed. They are right, you need to do them and many things are time sensitive. However, you need to know more than anything, that you will have plenty of time to regroup and reset. Time is on your side.

Medical challenges will erupt, and every person’s dementia story sounds different. However, there will be many similarities. Listen and learn from those who have gone before you. I know that makes you angry. You want to know the timetable. You want to know what to expect and when to brace for another pothole, but there is no way to plan. Everyone’s journey is unique. Stop planning.

View his time home as a sweet blessing and his lost job as a gift from above. Call it “Early Retirement” and learn to graciously accept gifts from friends and family. Do not deny them of the blessings that come from being a helpmate to a friend, family, coworker, or neighbor. Choke back your pride. There will be a day when finances will adjust to a “new normal” but it will take time and patience. You will not always live on bread and peanut butter.

Notice the blessings. God knew that your favorite man would need more projects than he could keep up with, That is why he supplied the house on the mountain three years in advance. He also knew that you would need help from well-trained children, who are natural caregivers. He supplied a home that was too big for two, and just right for six, and filled a need for two families. Enjoy the gift of family that provides help and grandchildren that fill you up.

Believe it or not, your relationship will become sweeter than it has ever been. You will feel needed and appreciated because he relies on you so thoroughly. Walks are precious. That is the time that he will open up to you and talk to you about changes that he notices and fears that he has about the future. It is a blessed time to reassure him and provide him with comfort. It is a beautiful gift of time that the Lord has provided.

He knew you needed a small support system that you could call on at any time, knowing that they would be there to hold you up when you won’t have the strength on your own. Don’t dwell on who isn’t there when you feel lonely. Instead, feel thankful for those who have stepped in to help and encourage you.

610546228-612x612The dementia progression will go in steps like a staircase. He will be on one stair for quite some time, before moving to the next landing. It gives you time to recalculate and regroup. Relax. You will catch up.

Some days will be cloudy and some days will be clear. Most days are just fine. He won’t be able to differentiate between a cloudy and clear day, so you will have to do it for him. He will be tired, confused, frustrated because he can’t do something he knows he should know how to do, or angry because he “did something stupid”. Just reassure him, and keep things light. You are his person and if he sees you upset, he won’t know what to do about it and his agitation will increase. Save it for the closet or the shower.

He will be quieter. Be prepared to do projects and errands alone. You will have to keep him safe, take over the driving, manage the finances, and monitor the medications. However, the good news is that he will still be an active participant in the family. He will still cook, mow the lawn, do laundry (after someone else separates it), clean, and make minor renovations 5 1/2 years after the diagnosis. Regression isn’t immediate, so relax. Just watch from afar to be sure that he stays safe.

He will be tired, have a headache nearly every day, and will be sore from a torn rotator cuff and an arthritis filled body. He will lose his desire to eat most meals. However, he will be drawn to sweets. Foods will taste bland to him, so they won’t be as enjoyable. He will be thrilled with Dunkin Donut’s coffee, soda, and sweet treats like ice cream, candy, and cookies. It will make you so happy to see him content.

You will have to worry about highly stimulating situations. He will no longer want to go to church, or crowded places, especially where people might know him, and he doesn’t know them. Even familiar places like the family farm will be a scary place. He will be happiest at home, riding in the car, or down by the water. The ocean brings him peace. He will love to watch the boats and the tide slapping on the rocks.

After 5 1/2 years, he will still be able to read, and retain what he reads if it is highly interesting. He will still be interested in politics, history, and the most recent election. It will bring him great joy to re-watch the surprise ending! He will enjoy watching Big Brother, Survivor, and 48 hours with your middle child via FaceTime and Messenger every Saturday night.

His children and grandchildren will continue to bring him the most joy. Although highly stimulating when all together, there will be nothing that makes him happier. Plan to have him respond much the way an autistic child would when he’s had enough. He will shake his hands, stare, shiver, rock, yell out, or bolt. Occasionally he might surprise you and rise to the occasion, and crash later. Most importantly, he will be looking for you. You are his person. Be there. Hold his hand, whisper in his ear, let him rub your arm raw, and take him for a walk. He needs you and it will make you feel so good to be his lifeline.

More than anything, live for the day. Stop planning. Don’t plan anything for more than 4-6 weeks out. Think back to when the children were little. Make tentative plans based on how he is doing at that moment on that particular day. Dementia makes no sense. Some days are good. Some days are not so good. Some things are forgotten forever. Some things come back after a period of time.

Celebrate each day as a gift. Stop worrying about the future. When it’s time, God will reveal what the next steps are. It sounds trite, but you really have to just live in the moment. Most importantly, stop holding your breath. Don’t waste one precious moment. You don’t want any regrets in the end.

Don’t doubt yourself. Your journey is your journey. It isn’t going to look like everyone else’s. You and the kids are going to be alright. He has taught you everything you need to know to keep going. When the time comes, and the Lord takes him home, be assured that you will one day be reunited. A physical death is not the end of your story. So relax. Enjoy the moment, seek joy, find strength and peace. You will be okay.

With love,

Older, Wiser Me.

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The Biggest Jerk

I used to take life for granted. I said that I didn’t, but I did. Not any longer.

I have been married to my one and only for 31 years, and over time, we have suffered some agonizing times- ones that quite frankly, many could not hang on through. So, what has been the secret?

Faithfulness. I have been absolutely determined to carry through with a promise before God and our closest friends.

On May 23, 1987 we were joined together as one, promising that we would let any ONE or any THING separate us. We were determined to make a lifelong commitment. To be honest, there have many times when I have tried a lot harder than he has. There have been times when I have felt neglected and taken advantage of. Sometimes he hasn’t been very nice, and there have been times when I have felt like a single parent. There was even a time when I considered asking him to find somewhere else to stay. However, I was stubborn and determined not to give up on what God ordained. I knew that my husband was facing some difficult physical and psychological challenges, and that it was my duty to be his number one support system: to lift him up when he didn’t feel strong enough to lift himself up. I made it my mission to pray him through each day and to encourage him even when I was angry, frustrated, and disappointed.

I figured that if he wasn’t going to take care of himself on his own, I was going to help. One of the first things I did was to take over his medications. In his state of mind, he often didn’t know what day it was, and either forgot to take his meds or accidentally took them two or three times in a day. I started by encouraging him to eat more balanced meals, and drink less soda and coffee. I encouraged exercise by walking with him. Since he wasn’t reading his bible or attending church regularly, I upped the ante for myself and made it my mission to stay prayed up for the both of us. During our quiet walks, with nothing else to interrupt us, I shared what I was learning and what was on my heart. When he didn’t talk, I talked enough for the both of us.

Shockingly, what happened was that MY attitude started changing. What was once meant for HIS benefit, began to benefit ME. I wrote him encouraging notes and left them in his lunch bag. I met him for lunch during my time off, determined to shut my mouth and be a better listener. Gradually, I started to see a change in him, because I was so determined to pour myself and my time into him. I loved on him even when I got nothing in return. I made his favorite meals, watched his favorite movies, and listened to his favorite music. I involved him in decision-making for the children and family finances.

We sought counseling that sometimes made our situation worse. It brought up painful topics that had been suppressed for a long time. If he slipped back into bad practices, it was often with others from his support group. The situation did not repair itself quickly, and I would push through the discouragement, and up my game or continue making my husband’s health and our union my top priority. I was determined not to allow Satan any more opportunities to break down our marriage and our family.

I prayed over and anointed the windows and door jams in my house. We burned and prayed over materials from the Masons. I monitored music, movies, phone, and internet that came into our home closely. I regularly prayed over my sleeping husband and my babies.

Most importantly, I took care of ME, because I was determined to stay as healthy as I possibly could, so that I could take extra care of HIM. I walked, watched what I ate, read the Word, looked for encouragement and wisdom from friends and family, and I lived in secret Hell while I remained focused and faithful to my husband.

Just when things began to get better, our family took more hits. Satan continued to take his best shots. We dealt with deaths, rebellious teenagers, financial hardships, the loss of two jobs, and the challenge of a terminal illness that will eventually take my one and only.

Through it all, I continued to take my marriage vows seriously. I never left him. In my heart of hearts, I could not give up on him because I feared that he would then give up on himself and I couldn’t bear that. I knew that I was his lifeline and I was determined to reconstruct our family on a foundation of faith.

I believe with everything I have, that God will reward me for my faithfulness during a time when I had every reason to walk away. As I look at where we are now, I would not be the person that I am today had I done the easy thing. Instead, I remained faithful to my promises, and am so glad to say that I love my husband today more than ever.  The strange thing is that the tough times made my commitment even stronger.

Dementia may take my husband, but it has also provided me with the opportunity to show my faithfulness and not simply “talk the talk”. The disease that was meant for destruction, has taken my faith to a whole new level and I am a living testimony to all who watch.

My advice: don’t give up when the going get’s tough. Take it as an opportunity to practice “walking the walk” and show God, your family, and friends that you mean what you say. Practice what you preach when life seems impossible and there doesn’t seem to be a way out. It’s easy to be joy-filled when all is going well, but how about when the heat is turned up and you are dealing with great loss and destruction?

So what do you do in the meantime? Participate in intense practice sessions, because no one is exempt from the great manure pile of life. If you are lucky enough to be going through a time of smooth sailing, thank your lucky stars, because you will have your turn for turmoil. Get and stay healthy mind, spirit, and soul. Generate a list of reasons why you love your one and only, so that when the time comes, you can refer to it. Build a list of things that you enjoy doing and eating, because you will need to find your joy without becoming unhealthy when your loved one is. Surround yourself with a group of good friends who you are like, or who you want to be like. Determine yourself to be joy-filled and healthy, because you are the only one you have control over.

More than anything: don’t give up. It’s what Satan wants. Don’t let him find even a crack. He is a liar and a jerk and there is nothing that brings him more pleasure than to destroy marriages and families.

 

 

 

Love Anyway

Whether the question is about marriage, child rearing, difficulties at work, or a health challenge, our charge is the same: LOVE ANYWAY.

My father always said that “whatever didn’t kill us, would make us stronger.” Honestly, there have been times when I thought I’d die before my Maker would prop me up, blow extra air in my lungs, place a steel rod in my spine, and walk me through the affliction.

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This week marks our 31st wedding anniversary, and when I look back over the years, we had some really high hurdles, and steep mountains to climb.

What’s the secret to our success?

Be spiritually united. My husband didn’t start attending church with me regularly until the children became involved in AWANA. That was 1998 and eleven years after we had said, “I do.” It was at that time that we became committed to a common spiritual foundation and rule book to refer to while raising our children, but more importantly, how to preserve our marriage when the going got tough.

Over the 31 years, there have been dark times that we could have walked away from one another, and quite frankly, we didn’t like each other very much. We’ve had lean times when we prayed for bread, lost jobs, and sat by the bedside of family members that we loved very much. We had rebellious teenagers, and have desperately missed children and grandchildren who have moved far from home.

Through it all we stayed together. We did the right thing even when it wasn’t the easiest thing. We worked with professionals and created a support system. We never stopped trying. Some days we made progress. Some days we took three steps back.

God used the dark times to strengthen us for what was to come. We needed to have those support systems in place for when the heat was turned up even more. We are now beginning the seventh year since the worst year of our marriage, and the year before the dreaded diagnosis.

A promise is a promise. We made vows that were taken seriously no matter what and because we remained faithful, we have been blessed. Today’s devotion contained a reminder to LOVE ANYWAY. “As God’s chosen people… (we are called to) clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience…and over all the virtues put on love…” Colossians 3:12 & 14.

This year I have learned that it is more important to keep a strong testimony than to be right, and my goal has been to accept what happens because “God works all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

In a strange way, the past five years have been a blessing for our family. Although we face losing the Patriarch of our family, we have savored life beyond what we would have done without the diagnosis. My goal is to live each day, one at a time, with my palms up. I have given up the urge for order, organization, and a schedule. Instead, I have given EVERYTHING to my Maker: my husband, children, home, and job because I know that when things aren’t right with the Lord, nothing is right.

So to my children, grandchildren, family, and friends, the secret behind 31 years of marriage is to LOVE ANYWAY. Be a joy seeker. Count your blessings. And when things go sour, as they sometimes will, thank God because he works all things for good to the faithful.

“There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears. There will be a day when the burdens of this place will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face. Until that day, we’ll hold on” (Jeremy Camp) forgiving each other the way God forgives us. Every.Single.Time.

A Day To Remember

“I don’t think about my parents much anymore. I don’t really remember them.” So naturally, we went on a field trip to the old stomping ground…30714670_10214765476844571_7505032437215264768_n.jpg

Any good day involves plenty of coffee, so we started out on the right foot, before traveling through the back roads toward his home town. I told him what I remembered and talked about who lived where. He perked up, and the memories began to leak in.

First stop: to the cemetery to visit his mother and father. As we walked toward their stone, we walked past others with names he recognized, although he was surprised that they had passed within the past few years. He complained about the lichen on the headstones and the cold weather, but the memories remained few.

Next stop: the old homestead. We stopped at his mother’s old shop. He recalled his parent’s making the sign, and helping to build the structure. She sold lightly used clothes and treasures that his parents found at yard sales. She loved that old building and it gave her such joy to recycle, reuse items, and to re-home them.

The memories started to resurface one glance at a time. We looked down the road to the right and he recalled a neighbor that he loved. She worked as a sheriff and buzzed around the area on her 4-wheeler. He was surprised at how close the bridge looked, and how the area where he waited for the bus, looked smaller than he recalled. He talked about the grass triangle that he used to mow, and the trees that had been cut between the old homestead and the cemetery.

We drove onto the property that was once owned by his parents and stopped by the house. The new owners continue to use the pole barn that was once used to house animals, and is now used for storage. Now the house has a full porch, and the new owners have clearly insulated and turned the right side into living space. My husband recalled that the basement was once used for wood storage, the first floor contained an old 2-hole outhouse, and the upstairs held a pool table. The upstairs window over the porch was his old bedroom window. The old house jogged stubborn memories and the stories began to flow.

We drove on. We looked at the fields where the family hayed, and an old cement foundation where an old building once stood. We glanced at the tiny pond that once provided hours of entertainment during the long winters, and the hill where the kids would go sliding. He was surprised at how tiny the hill looked, yet it felt so big when he played on it as a child. He talked about walking through the dirt road to his grandfather’s house, while taking a picture of the brook that ran along the boundary line. He recalled cutting wood out back, and long hours of haying.

30713990_10214765479364634_3320257028319870976_nThe trip to the homestead was the best way to start the day. He talked about his siblings, his parents, and days gone by. It made my heart happy to assist him in remembering his family and the good times. He recalled the fact that they had little, but didn’t know it. He was proud to share about picking berries, being frightened by a bear, and enjoying the benefits of homemade jam on toast and his mother’s good cooking.

We continued our field trip past the dump and he recalled hours of dump picking and finding precious treasures. He said that the siblings would go together and how upset one would get if left behind. As we continued up the road, he named off who lived where, some long passed gone, making note of how the area had changed over the years.

We parked at the foot of the driveway of the home where his parents moved to after he joined the Navy. He talked about how it didn’t look like it did when his father tended it and how it needed a slap of paint. It was never his home, but it was theirs for about 24 years.

We continued to drive through the back roads of his old stomping ground, recalling fields that the family hayed, and a hot date we had while driving freshly baled hay home long after sundown.

It was a good day that continued with more coffee, meandering through local stores, and a lunch date with friends. I brought him home tired and without a nap, but happy. Today he visited with all 5 siblings and his parents, and although he may not recognize them or remember them tomorrow, he did today, and today was good.

Live.Laugh.Love.

This has been a sorrow-filled week. People that I care about very much have been in pain for good reason. It has been difficult to find JOY through suffering. I’ve been trying to figure out how to be an encouragement as I fight with my own inner feelings, which has left me thinking about people in my life who have risen above very challenging circumstances. What did they do? How can I learn from them?

My mother’s mother is one of the first people in my memory, who persevered through devastating circumstances. As a young child, she would tell me stories of living through multiple house fires, one time running to the neighbor’s house after losing a shoe in the snow. The most traumatic tale was when my mother and her family endured the wrath of the ’47 Fires. My mother tells of the wildfire that they watched from afar, trying to figure out which side of the road it would come. Once they realized that the fire was headed for their home, store, and lumber mill, a decision had to be made as to which building would be saved. They chose the mill since it was their biggest source of income for the family. The girls were sent into their home to pick one thing, and they teased my aunt unmercifully because she chose a book on etiquette. Neighbors and friends pulled up to the house and loaded household items such as bikes and the treasured piano, but some items were never returned. As a result, my grandmother had a nervous breakdown. The horror of watching the fire was just too much, and as a result, she spent some time recovering in the local mental hospital. My grandfather made light of it for the sake of the girls and my mother recalls that they even laughed about it. From the stories, he was a man we will thoroughly enjoy meeting in Heaven. He had a great sense of humor and loved to hear his girls giggle. My grandfather died while Mom, the baby of four girls, was in college. He was an unhealthy baby who grew up to be an adult with a weak heart. Yet, my grandmother persevered. She mourned the loss of her true love, but she lived on. My grandmother’s famous words were, “I’ve got —- years to live, and I’m going to live them!” … and she did. My grandmother passed away with Alzheimer’s while I was pregnant with my first-born and I miss her to this day.

I come from a long line of strong independent women on my mother’s side. Most were teacher’s by trade, with a gift of caregiving. They pushed through hard, long, days, where they felt unappreciated, and lonely. Caregiving is a lonely calling, and those in the daily trenches give up their own needs and desires to care for others who are generally unappreciative. I noticed. I noticed then, and I recall it now. They didn’t know it at the time, but they were grooming me for what was to come.

My father’s mother was equally as strong. She and my grandfather started a little farm and raised 5 children during WWII and the Depression. They weren’t as fortunate as my mother’s family, who owned a convenience store and were able to eat expired meat that had been pulled from the shelf. It was either feast or famine in my father’s world. My grandmother would recount dumpster picking, and peeling the rot off the outside of vegetables to feed the family. The most traumatic time of my father’s life, was the early death of my uncle. As the story goes, he fell off a horse, and was later diagnosed with cancer. My grandparents would load up the family, and take them all to Boston in the back of the pick-up for appointments for my brilliant uncle, who had an unusual spiritual connection to God. He lost the battle and died in the arms of my grandmother at the family homestead, and my grandfather cursed God for the remainder of his days. When my mother was pregnant with me, my father found my grandfather on the floor still holding the mail. My grandmother had taken a trip north to spend some time with my aunt and her young family, and he had a heart attack while she was away. She never forgave herself for not being there in his final moments. My grandmother was a tough old bird though, and she continued to thrive by pouring her heart into her church ministry (sending lightly used clothes to countries in need), and babysitting for local families. She lived to a ripe old age, despite being diagnosed with Dementia and losing much of her eyesight. She was a special lady and I miss her very much.

What can I learn from these brilliant and strong women, of whom similar blood runs through my veins? They were women of great faith. They had a strong family commitment beyond their own needs and desires. They were teachers, and hard workers who never gave up no matter how hard life got. They were kind-hearted, had great character, and did the right thing even when nobody was looking. They were responsible citizens who voted, were dedicated to being life long learners, and enjoyed every great gift the Lord provided. They had beautiful homes and properties that they cared about very much. They took care of their possessions and cultivated their passions. They invested themselves into the lives of the next generation and took the time to teach and to guide.

There were times when these strong women could have given up. They had every reason to walk away, but they didn’t. They made a commitment. They made a promise. They planned, they regrouped, and planned again. They clung to their faith, their family, and their friends. They knew that this life here on earth was just temporary and that there is a much greater life yet to come. They ate ice cream and popcorn because it made them happy. They read for pleasure, and to enhance their knowledge. They worked the land, and didn’t resist the opportunity to snitch a fresh vegetable or piece of fruit from a plant that they had cultivated. They canned, froze, and raised what they could. They were thrifty and wise with their spending. They sat in their bathrobes and watched the birds. They knitted, and sewed homemade items for holiday’s and thought of us the entire time. Together, we visited the Farmer’s Market and the local Fair, and they even filled our pockets with candy when our parents weren’t looking.

They lived. They laughed. They loved.

…and I will too.

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