Before children entered our picture, my husband and I ‘fled’ to the city. We were young, we were naïve…we were kind of stupid. I look back on our pre-baby years now and I have to wonder just how much money we really could have saved up if we lived then like we do now. But, you can’t go back.
I never would have dreamed that I would cloth diaper, let alone make 99% of their diapers myself. I didn’t know that my favorite outfits for them to wear would be ones I had cut, stitched, and pressed myself. I didn’t know that some of their favorite toys would be made by mommy. But I know now, and it makes me heart smile when they prance about the house in bright, colorful outfits created out of love and their mother’s imagination.
I think I unknowingly set out each year to make our lives a bit more handmade. I don’t grow a garden or have bushes and trees that bear fruit. But I want to. I remember going to the small wooden chicken house my ‘pa’ had. My sister and I would go with him to collect the eggs and on some occasions we would ride with him in his pickup truck as he delivered those eggs. My grandpa doesn’t still have chickens, but he still has a garden. And his home still makes me feel like I’m loved and that it’s one of the best places to be.
This weekend my grandfather was telling my husband and I that he worked many, many years for $2 and something an hour with no raise. He asked for one and was told no. So he set out to find a new job and he did indeed get one. I don’t think he knew that he was telling us something we needed to hear right now, or perhaps he did. But my grandpa was telling us something I think most of us forget. We each control our own fate. Life hands us a deck of cards, but we control which ones we keep and which ones we try to trade for something better.
I’ve always seen my grandpa as a strong figure, a self-made man who has worked very hard his whole life. No, he’s not perfect and he’s not rich by any means, but he is a good man and I know he loves his family. I guess he feels more like a father to me than my own, because he has chosen to always be present, unlike my real ‘dad’. My grandpa shows up to graduations, birthday parties, holidays. And some of my best memories have taken place under his roof.
When I was a young, naive 19-year-old, I declared that I never wanted to live in the country again. Well, I was wrong. And my heart BELONGS on those quiet roads near family. There’s something inside me that yearns to live that quiet life. I of course still need some of my modern conveniences, but boy oh boy do I miss home-grown food and how my grandmother would tell us ghost stories when there was a storm going on outside.
There is something to be said for keeping things simple and trying to do things for yourself…