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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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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Poetry Wednesday

Another song…

I’m sharing what I posted on facebook yesterday:

I know (and have been enjoying) all the Pete Seeger shares going on here. I had decided not to add to it, but couldn’t help myself. When I was just a little girl, I took “Turn Turn Turn” as my song. I can say that it remains my favorite song. I believe The Bryds version was my first ever 45 record.
And “If I had a Hammer”…well let’s just say that it has become a special song that I share with a special little boy and one that I hope that he remembers for the rest of his life, even if he doesn’t remember why.

September 11, 2013

As it happens now every September 11, I think back to this day twelve years ago. I relive it. The horror. I relive it…

I was going to leave my page silent today, but decided to share my post from 9-11-11.

This morning I worked and I spent time playing with a certain little boy who will have no memory of the actual day. Isn’t that weird? I doesn’t seem enough time has passed that there are so many children who will have no memory of the day. My niece wrote about it on her blog.

Do a good deed today…

 

You Are My Sunshine

This – You Are My Sunshine – was my mother’s song for her grandchildren. Many times she sang it to her grandchildren and was able to sing it to almost all of her great grandchildren. It holds a very special meaning in our family.

Now that my daughter has a foster son who is with her indefinitely, I’ve been thinking about my mother a lot more. She would have loved another little one to sing her special song to. Jamie has a picture at the top of her stairs. It’s a big sun and says “You are My Sunshine”. When I was babysitting last week and the little guy and I were headed upstairs to get ready for his nap, he pointed to it and said “Boat”! He loves boats and must have thought the blue background was water. I told him that it was the sun and I sang that special song to him…

In looking for a version of this to share here, I found Johnny Cash (with and without June Carter Cash or Bob Dylan) and Ray Charles and Anne Murray and people I’d never heard of and children and babies. Then I came across this and I know of a couple of my mom’s grandkids that would get a kick out of it so that is the reason for my choice out of so many options.

Good vs. Evil

My sister recently came across some of my old photos that were in our mom’s things. Included were the proofs for my senior pictures. I never liked my senior pictures. Trying to fit into a school that I had only just transferred to in 11th grade was hard enough, but my mom scheduled me to go to a photographer that was not the photographer that all my classmates went to. Therefore, my photos were totally different than everyone else’s making me more of an outcast than I already felt.

Now I can laugh at those proofs. Especially this one. What was that photographer thinking?

LauraMy daughter calls it “Good Twin, Evil Twin”

 

Monday Musings – 6/10/13

We’ve had a few jobs in Emmett lately. It’s farther than we used to travel, but the economy and times have changed (and well drillers retire or pass away with not as many new ones to replace them). We travel further for jobs these days.

I lived in Emmett for a couple of years in the late 70s. All it took was a couple of years to both fulfill a dream and throw it away.

I was 15 when we settled into our new life “in the country” where I would start anew, have a horse farm, make some new horsey friends. I doggedly pursued that dream too.
But things quickly fell apart. I’ll never really know why I let it happen, but I changed. That change lead me to a young marriage and a teenage pregnancy (in that order). It also lead to a … bad marriage. A marriage that I was smart enough to leave before it got worse. I ended up having to give up my horses. It was time to grow up and I wasn’t in a position to include horses in that new grown-up life.

Sometimes I look back on that time with lots of regret for how horribly I had ruined it all and how deeply I had hurt my parents. My parents forgave me long long ago, but it took much longer for me to forgive myself.

Last week I found myself in my old neighborhood after dropping Jim off a few miles away from where I once lived. Instead of heading home, I decided to drive past the old homestead. Things have changed.

The farm field there to the left – it was fenced in and was part of a dairy farm when we lived there. Often the cows would escape. They once ate our entire garden…except for my dad’s hot peppers. Anyhow the cows are gone and crops are being grown now. Our old house is just on the other side of the trees. I didn’t want to stop and take pictures in front of the house. But I could see our old garage that my dad and I had converted into a little barn. It’s there close to the road!

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I’m surprised it’s still standing. There was a newer garage just to the left of the barn that housed our hay, straw, and special blend of horse feed. Oh! The smell of it all was glorious! How I long to hear again the soft nicker from my horse greeting me early in the morning. Or the louder whinny of one who was a little impatient for breakfast. Oh! How I miss it all!

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I turned around and drove past another time slowly with those memories, both good and bad, floating around in my head. And tears welling up and overflowing. I drove on, so  many thoughts and some regrets, but a lot of good memories that I will hold onto forever. I need to hold onto those memories!

Then I came back to the road where I had dropped Jim off and he was just pulling out onto the main road to head home. I was right behind him as he drove along and then as we stopped for a train that was halted on the tracks I could see him looking into the side view mirror wondering why I was now behind him when I had dropped him off and headed home a good little while earlier.

He may have thought I stopped here for some new shoes. This place is next to a gas station in Emmett. It wasn’t around when I lived in the area.

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I followed him home and thought of how I had traveled down a rough road for a time. I have regrets for some of the things that I did, but I can have no regrets for the journey itself because I ended up with blessings for which I am forever thankful. And that journey lead me to exactly where I was meant to be…

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