I went down memory lane yesterday talking about my grandma’s and how things have changed in the world even since I was a child.
I think the loss of the family unit is the greatest tragedy of my time, my generation. Women’s lib was in my time and hey! I am one of the most independent women I know, I was a single mom and I would never advocate a woman stay in an abusive marriage for the sake of the kids. I don’t think a woman should be at home with supper cooked waiting with her husband’s pipe and slippers. I think in an ideal world a couple works together in and out of the home for the common good of the family. But I also think if a couple wants children there are choices and sacrifices that have to be made. I think a woman can do it all, but maybe not all at the same time or she has to be with a man who supports her in her career and is willing to take up the slack in the house and with the kids.
I have also run a day care, and I had my son in a day care (only as a last resort because I couldn’t find a grandmotherly type or stay at home mom to care for him) when I had my day care I advertised “Home away from home” child care. On my brochures I had a little child waving good bye with a line Kris and I used to use when I left him anywhere, “I love you, I’ll miss you, but I won’t cry”.
I raised my son to be self sufficient, taught him how to cook and do his own laundry, but there have been times he’s needed to come home to mom for awhile to regroup and I have always been happy to be there for him if he needs a helping hand once in a while.
Michael, The Heretic; has said a few things that got me thinking about family. One was a post he did about selling one of his guitars because they needed food, another time it was about his sister’s in laws staying with his family for a period of time, and more recently he said something about moving out on his own and not being in his 30’s still living at home. As if it’s a bad thing. I think Michael’s family is doing it the “right” way, they know what family is all about. I think it is awesome Michael reads my posts to his mom, watches movies with his dad and they argue about how a pulled pork sandwich should be made. I think if Michael wants to move out that is great but I’d don’t think there is any shame in living at home either. I think it is wonderful how his family is so excited about him going to school. That is what family is about!
In high school I had a girl friend Debbie, she was my best friend all through my pregnancy, her family knew what being a family was all about. I felt a little uncomfortable at her house just because they were so open and accepting. Their house was nothing fancy, I don’t know what her dad did for a living and I can’t recall if her mom worked, what I do remember is walking through the door and how relaxed everyone was. At one point her mom was trying to quit smoking and found laying in the tub helped her cravings. They only had one bathroom and she was in the tub day and night. Everyone went in and used the bathroom anyway. Her mom would call out from the bathroom, “Hey Deb can you grab me something to drink”. I think eventually she started smoking again. Deb’s grandma lived with them and often times she would be having a beer with Deb’s dad and watching the game with Deb’s two brother’s. Deb’s was attractive, to quote her, “If you’ve got it flaunt it”, but not stuck up, she was trust worthy and a good solid friend and I think she could tell her parents anything. Deb always had summer jobs as did her brothers, I think they were all good kids. When my folks called to see if Deb knew where I was when I ran away because I was pregnant I know that Deb and her Mom went to my folks house. Her mom encouraged her to tell them what she knew and I know her mom was concerned for me and my safety. She knew I was pregnant long before my folks did. I haven’t talked to Deb in 35 years but I bet she is one of the few who stayed married and raised her family, I just have a feeling.
Another family I look at with admiration is my friend Kathy’s family. I bet they’d be surprised to know that because they are just an ordinary family in their minds, doing what comes naturally and they probably don’t appreciate what they have as being anything special.
I met Kathy when we worked together at Fraser Valley Foods, 20+ years ago. At that time she was with her first husband. I don’t think her mom ever worked outside of the home and I’m not sure what her dad did because he was already retired when I met her. but her folks held the mortgage on her house and when her and her husband needed a new vehicle the folks lent them the money. When they shut work down and we all got laid off Kathy didn’t have the stress most of us did, sure she had to pay her folks back, but I believe it was without interest and if she missed a payment or two no one was going to foreclose on her. She had her house paid off before most people ever do. Her second husband went back to school several times because he couldn’t decide what he wanted to do and the mom and dad helped them out every time.
Kathy played baseball with my last husband, actually she introduced him and I. Her and I both love to dance and she had asked me to come to a ball dance and I said only if she could find me someone to dance with. And the rest is history, like she said later, I said he was a good dancer, I didn’t say marry him! Anyway I digress.
Her mom never missed a ball game, she would arrive with the family dog, a bag of Spitz, and cold drinks to cheer the team on. Her dad didn’t like to travel but her mom took trips with friends and they appeared to have a very nice life. Her mom was mom to the whole ball team.
Her brother lived at home, he was a fair amount older than Kathy and had never married. I had thought it was strange that he still lived at home but once I met him, it just seemed natural. He had a good job and took a transfer to Vancouver Island and lived there until he retired and then he moved back home.
After Kathy’s father died and before her brother moved back home it became apparent Kathy’s mom couldn’t manage the big house on her own so Kathy and her 2nd husband sold her house and built a beautiful suite attached to her mom’s house. That way they were there if she needed anything. When Kathy’s husband left her she was understandably devastated but she had no worries financially and she didn’t have to do it alone. She works as a travel agent and doesn’t make a lot of money but she doesn’t have to and when she is gone her mom and brother are there to care for her two dogs. I was over there about a year ago and I was envious of the relationship Kathy has with her brother and how they all take care of each other. When the mom dies I’d imagine Kathy and her brother will continue on in that house. I can’t imagine them fighting over money like so many families do.
To me it just shows that if a family sticks together it all works out in the end. It is synchronicity at its finest, they do “family” well. Unfortunately it isn’t always possible in families, even when they try and it’s getting harder because couples rarely stay together any more. Children don’t live with both their biological parents and often times have several step parents, 1/2 siblings and parents buy bumper stickers that say “I am spending my children’s inheritance”. Hey more power to them, as they say, they worked hard for that money and they want to enjoy it. But I don’t think Kathy’s mom would ever say she isn’t enjoying the way she spent her money. She doesn’t have a fancy house, I bet the kitchen is the same as when they build the house 50 years ago, and she doesn’t drive a fancy car but she has her kids right there and she knows she will probably live in her house until the day she dies. That is a hell of a lot of peace of mind.
I am not criticizing anyone for their life choices, we all do what we feel is best for us but when you see a family functioning as it should, for the good of the family, I think they deserve to be recognized for that. The thing is; they are just doing what comes naturally and don’t know they are special. But isn’t that what makes someone special? The fact that they don’t know it.
As Christmas approaches I try to not think about family because my son won’t be coming home this year. Not that I have a home for him to come home to. My brother and his wife have recently split and I am not welcome in my mom’s house by my step dad.
It’s ok, I think I will volunteer at a soup kitchen or something maybe decorate my truck and drive around handing out hot cocoa and turkey dinner to homeless people. It won’t be the first Christmas I’ve spent alone and it shouldn’t matter anyway. Family shouldn’t need a special holiday to get together.
There was a time not long ago I would be into my Christmas baking full steam by now and spending every weekend making cabbage rolls, swedish meatballs, antipasto, cookies, squares, tourtierre, my own Christmas crackers, and I’d be chomping at the bit to put up a tree. I’ve had some mighty fine Christmas’s in my day, mighty fine!.
Do you have plans made for Christmas yet?
Thanks for listening. Hugs from Carrie
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