Duke…Under The Weather

Duke here.

Not much going on. I’m not feeling well today. I had a couple of accidents in the house during the night. I was really upset and embarrassed, but my mom and dad understood. They even took me to run some errands with them today.

I think I’ll lay low and get some rest today…

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Starting Back At The Beginning

Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.

~Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Chapter 1 — at the very beginning

Most of you have heard my story before. How I was introduced to the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder by my sixth grade teacher Mr. Lazarus when I was eleven. If only I could find Mr. Lazarus now to thank him for how he changed my life. How I checked out each and every book from our school library till I read them all. How one day a classmate, a boy, no less, found out which book I was getting on that library day (I had earned a reputation by then as the girl who was reading all those books) and raced in ahead of me and checked it out just to torment me. And how I, shy and quiet as I was, told the librarian what he had done and she made him give the book to me. How Laura and her books sparked my lifelong love of American History and respect of Native Americans. And horses too, although I chose the “Indian pony” Appaloosa horse as my breed of choice over her Manly’s choice of the Morgan horse, but let’s face it, I love ALL horses.

I can still remember all the extra early finds. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Songbook that I spotted on a bookstore shelf. The discovery of The First Four Years and On The Way Home were like finding treasures. And doing a school report on Laura when I looked under “W” in the public library set of encyclopedia and saw that tiny little picture of Laura as a woman in her 80s. That tiny passage was all that I could find about the real Laura and I wanted to know so much more. You can imagine my delight later when I discovered the William Anderson (well known Laura Ingalls Wilder expert) booklets! Remember folks, this was all in the early to middle 1970s.

I wanted to be Laura. I wanted to live like Laura lived, although in my preteen mind she lived permanently in the late 1800s. I wanted to see where Laura lived. I wanted others to  love those books and their storyteller as much as I did. I wanted to meet others who shared my love. I wanted to help to preserve the Laura Ingalls Wilder legacy for future generations too.

Guess what! I was able to fulfill so many of my dreams. I have been able to see many of the places that Laura lived and I have met so many others who share the same love. I  have been able to meet so many of those same people by going to two LauraPalooza conferences, where I learned more than I ever thought I needed to know about my favorite author. And there have been so many other Laura adventures that I have been lucky enough to experience! I’ve even been privileged to have been able to help preserve her legacy by helping at the website Beyond Little House and even writing several posts there. Plus, I was honored to serve for a year on the board of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association.

How lucky am I? And I’m not done yet. I plan to help preserve Laura’s legacy in other ways, maybe quiet more simple ways, but I will never stop.

And for now, I’m going back to my LIW beginnings. I’ve spent the last few years learning new things and almost feel as if I’ve lost sight of why I first fell in love with Laura and her writing. So, I’m connecting myself with her earlier writing and the things that others have discovered and shared with us. And most of all, I’m re-reading the Little House books. Just for the pure joy of it all.

Today is the anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birth in that little log house in the big woods of Wisconsin. And I am oh so glad that she decided to share her stories with us.

Happy Birthday, Laura Ingalls Wilder!

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Poetry Wednesday

“It can’t beat us!” Pa said.
“Can’t it, Pa?” Laura asked stupidly.
“No,” said Pa. “It’s got to quit sometime and we don’t. It can’t lick us. We won’t give up.”

Then Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.

~The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Chapter 30 – It Can’t Beat Us

Just to remind us all (who are thoroughly tired of snow) that it could be worse.

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On Being a Mom (of adult children)

I’ve heard moms ask, on different occasions, “When do you get to stop worrying (about your kids)?”

The truth is — you don’t. You signed up for a lifetime commitment when you became a mom.

The worrying changes, how you handle it becomes tricky.

You can hold your toddler back from running into traffic. You can tell your preteen that you don’t like their choice of friends and you can take away privileges. You can put them in timeout when they’re young and ground them when they’re older. That’s how you teach them safe from unsafe and right from wrong.

And then they turn eighteen. Maybe they think they’re ready to be adults. Maybe they’re smart enough to realize that they need your wisdom. Then they start the process of becoming adults. But they’re still your kid, right? Yesterday they were seventeen and today they’re eighteen. That’s the only change you see. You hope that the lessons that you taught them stay with them. You know there are no guarantees.

But the process begins then. Your child faces some of the same struggles that you, as a mom, face, only from a different perspective. They have to start making some important decisions on their own and you have to let them. They begin to make mistakes and you can’t step in and fix them. Sometimes they make choices that  you don’t agree with, but you have to step back and let them travel their own journey to adulthood.

And gradually they become adults, real adults with real careers and real adult obligations and they handle it all. And you wonder when it happened. I mean, weren’t you just kissing boo boos and reading Little House books to them?

Guess what… They will always be your children. You won’t always like their choices, but if you’re wise you will keep your opinion to yourself unless asked. You’ll sometimes wish they traveled their journey down a different path, but if you’re wise you won’t let them know unless they ask. You’ll always wish you could fix their mistakes, but you can’t. You will always want them to have the most perfect smooth life, but you just can’t. And sometimes that’s the hardest part of being a mom of an adult child.

And you will always always worry.

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