It is hard to believe that we survived our childhood. I look at Facebook posts and laugh at the ones that show our generation roller skating and biking without helmets, drinking water out of a hose, living in an era without cell phones and video games to entertain us. We played outside all day, bullied and got bullied and learned to stand up for ourselves, we learned to respect our elders, we worked for what we had and did chores around the house and yard. No freebies. People immigrated from Socialist and Communist countries legally to build a new life and an American dream. They worked hard to escape a horrible life and to build a new one, never expecting handouts. (Sorry, I did not intend for this to head into a political ideology.)
I was actually thinking about the fact that it is a miracle our own children have survived their childhood. I mean really, I changed diapers and never had a diaper wipe warmer. My kids were shocked by a cold wipe to the butt. They still had clean diapers, albeit with cold behinds. I am sure my parents thought the same thing when we progressed from cloth diapers to disposable ones.
Bath time consisted of putting the baby in the sink or tub with a towel or sponge underneath them. Not because they needed some elegant way to lounge in the bathtub. Baths were simply a means to clean up. The towel or sponge was simply for safety. The little buggers are slippery when they are wet. Now we can buy special bathtubs that you hook to your sink and shower the baby.
My kids survived cribs with cushions around the sides appropriately called bumper pads, blankets and pillows. Back then we were told not to lay babies on their backs because they could choke. Now you aren't supposed to lay them on their stomachs because they could suffocate. Now what? We have run out of sides.
I had one little swing and an infant seat to help hold the baby. I talked to my kids all the time while they sat in their seats. Oh, I forgot, I also had a walker that my kids loved to be in. Those are also taboo today. I used a playpen to keep the kids safe from themselves when they got mobile. I suppose in today's world that would be considered incarceration. Now we have swings that sing to babies while they are rocked.
My kids learned to sit at the dinner table and participate in social conversation. Now kids are provided with I Pads and phones to entertain them. As they got older and ready to date or go to school dances, I made my boys take me on a date. They learned to open doors, how to behave on a date, how to order a meal and how to pay for it and leave a tip. My boys learned how to treat a lady. My girls were taught to expect proper treatment from their dates. I told Max about my dates with her uncles the other day and she thought it was hysterical.
I like to believe that my children are and will be good parents. That they will take the best of what I could teach them and use it to raise their own. In reality, they are reading books and using that information to guide them. (Remember how well that worked when Dr. Spock wrote his book on childrearing?) At any rate, there is good information in the books, but like what you learn from your parents, you have to pick and choose from the information provided. The problem that I see with the books is that the children themselves do not read them to know what the book says they should be doing. The grown ups have invented all of these gadgets and books to help us raise children. Those grownups are robbing children of the blessing of being children. No one asked the kids what they thought about the gadgets. Children want love. They want safety. They want boundaries. They want to explore and discover. They want to test the waters. They need to succeed and they need to fail.
We survived as parents without books and gadgets. We gave our kids love and guidance. We weren't perfect and yet they survived our flaws and mistakes. We got them to church and helped them with guidance from the greatest Book of all, the Bible. Have a blessed week.
Hey! I have been absent for a good while (with good reason) and I certainly hope my stories have been missed! Christmas is a killer as far as time management for me. I used to be pretty efficient, but as I have gotten older and as I have collected more "stuff" ( you know, decorations), it takes me longer and longer to get things done.
But my big question today is "Who are these people"? You know who I mean, the ones who efficiently put up millions of lights, a beautiful tree scented candles, etc. etc. etc., the day after Thanksgiving. Listen, I don't know about you, but I do not have thousands of workers like they have at Disney World or Disneyland to transform my home into a magical Christmas wonderland in a matter of hours! Heck, I just have me!
I started Thanksgiving weekend. I will not back down and refuse to start decorating before that date. There is no Christmas in July for us and I am pretty stiff about no Christmas movies either. (I am proud to say a few kids have taken my stance on that!) I managed to plod along for weeks. Finally, the second weekend in December, Pook and the Surprise put up the trees for me when I was out of town. The main tree was decorated that weekend by all of us. The others took another week. Decorating ended approximately one week before Christmas.
Then it hit me!!! I have not wrapped one gift!!!! My bedroom, as usual became "wrapping central". It never fails, at least one person asks if I have time to wrap a few things for them. Sure, in all my spare time. In between, babysitting, cleaning, cooking, wrapping gifts and working. No problem!!!
The bottom line is that Christmas comes whether I am ready or not. The season is about the ultimate gift given to us by God - His precious Son. And we mimic that by giving gifts purchased with love and thoughtfulness to our family and friends. Hopefully we remember to include a few strangers and charities. And more importantly, hopefully we remember to keep God and church in the season.
So, Christmas day arrives and following a whirlwind of excitement and wrapping paper flying around like a cyclone has just traveled through the living room, we finally breathe. The tension of preparation is gone. The arrival of another grandchild took place three days before Christmas, so the tension of waiting was for her was gone. We sat down to a dinner with friends and family and enjoyed the spirit of the season and shared our love with one another.
Did I mention that all this stuff has to come down and be stored for next year? It is one week into February and I just put the last of the decorations out of sight. Things from outside are tossed in the garage and still need to be packed up! Everything inside is stored. Thankfully I also found a gift or two that missed being wrapped and presented! I tried like crazy to get each of the kids to take one or two things that they really like to use in their homes next year. I am not dumb! That would mean less to pack this year and unpack next year. But then again, if you know me, you know that I will be on the hunt between now and next Christmas for new treasures.
And I am left still searching for those Disney workers or at least the elves who helped that old shoemaker to help me out. Maybe the Elf on the Shelf could be a little more useful and help out instead of just sitting around all day!
It has been a beautiful year. We had some challenges and yet God blessed us with a new son in law and two new granddaughters and some new found health. I will still pray for those elves, but I will also try to remember to thank God for the many gifts that I treasure every day! Here is to a new year (one month old). Maybe I can restart those resolutions. Oh my, that's another issue! Have a blessed week!
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!