I am going to stray off of the familiar path of this blog and take a trip down memory lane. Come along, if you’d like! Exit now if my childhood memories don’t appeal to you, I won’t mind! 😉
I was born the 7th child of my parents. I was nestled nicely between two boys. My little brother and I were great friends growing up. We had our cousin friends, but in the early years, he & I were always together. Big brother sometimes played with us, too. When it was all three of us, we played with Legos and matchbox cars… setting up huge towns, roads, and farms covering the living room or family room floor. When it was just little brother & I, we played “lost kids”, cowboys & Indians, or climbed trees. When we were older (10-12), we played video games and watched TV together.
We were raised on a commercial raspberry farm until I was about 9-years-old. We would pack food and walk around the berry field, down to the pond, or across the road to the clear cut. We played in the dirt, cleared tunnels through blackberry bushes (dulling our parent’s pruning clippers), and built forts. We waded out too deep in the pond, threw mud balls at our older siblings who were driving the tractor or working on the “berry pickers”. We shot birds and chipmunks with our bb guns, picked green plums, and ate sour sheep clover. We ran barefoot down the berry rows trying to miss the prickers, dirt squishing in between our toes, and picking fresh raspberries right off the vine. We squeezed raspberry seeds at each other and picked “helicopters” from the tree. We swam for hours on end in our pool all summer, playing Marco-polo and having races across the pool. We rolled through the hay field to make “houses” and played house with our cousins. We stacked hay bales to make houses, too. We spent hours playing baseball in the “middle field”, kick-the-can at our house and our cousins’ house, and having picnics next to the rock pile. Sometimes, we dared to climb the rickety ladder across the driveway to get into the big boys’ treehouse. We bundled up when it snowed and put bread bags over our socks inside our rubber boots to go sledding on the side hill, coming inside to change mittens every so often, and ending the day with rosy-red cheeks and sipping hot cocoa while drying off by the wood stove. We loved our dogs: Kita, Buck, and Lad. The dogs came with us everywhere and kept us safe. Mom would yell for us when it was time to eat or if she needed us to come back to the house. We would usually hear her.
We were farm kids living in the country. I know now how blessed we were!
I was 7 when my little sister came along and I loved her to pieces. She was a princess and her older brothers and I carried her around on our shoulders announcing it to the world! We created paper crowns for her and made playhouses for her to play with. I wanted to be the best big sister ever, but I’m sure I failed many times.
When my baby sister was born, I was almost 11. I loved helping to care for her. Mom taught me how to give her baths and change her diaper. I rocked her in the big blue lazy boy chair, feeding her a bottle while she fell asleep. That was the first time I experienced such satisfaction as can only be found in a baby falling asleep in your arms. She was “my baby”. Always, mom showed me that babies and children should be put first in life. Whoever was older was taught to look out for the younger.
I can remember the smell of fresh cookies, delicious suppers, and the woodstove. I can remember how cozy winter mornings were, with my mom standing at the cooktop in her soft blue housecoat, frying eggs and pancakes for my dad before he left for work. I remember how my mom would stand at the utility door and flash the yard lights 3 times for my dad, as he drove down the driveway to work (I Love You). He would tap his brake lights in return. I remember the excitement of daddy getting home from work. I would run out to help him carry his lunchbox. He would come in and happily greet mom as she was dishing up his supper. He praised her cooking and baking. He ate vanilla ice cream with a tall glass of cold milk every night before bed. We ended our days all tucked into bed with my parents both home. All was well with my world.
I was the baby girl for 7 years and my little brother was the baby of the family for 5 years before numbers 9 & 10 came along. Usually little brother would sit on mom’s lap and I would sit on dad’s during church. I remember leaning back against his chest and hearing his heartbeat, reaching up to play with his beard, and holding his calloused work hands. He would bring big vitamin C chewables to church in his breast pocket and take one out to break in half for little brother and me. They were warm and a little sticky, but we loved them.
Sometimes, I would put my head on my mom’s lap during church. She was soft and warm and LOVE. I loved her church dresses, high (but not too high) heels, curled hair, and vanilla scented perfume. I can still see her in the downstairs bathroom, quickly taking 5-minutes to put on a little makeup before rushing out the door to church: mascara, concealer, and blush. She was beautiful.
I remember how when my mom cleaned in the spring and summer, the doors and windows would be open, letting in a fresh breeze. She would put the kitchen chairs out on the back porch while she swept and scrubbed the floors. She sang hymns and was so cheerful. She was always busy and hardworking. The kitchen seemed so bright in its white and blue. She would stop her work to make us tuna sandwiches for a picnic, or grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. Cold milk or water were the only drinks we had.
I remember when my mom’s family would come over to visit… big gatherings of many cousins. Mom would make a big bowl of popcorn smothered in butter & salt, platters of sliced cheese and venison summer sausage, brownies or cookies, and homemade raspberry juice (sometimes with sprite/7-up added). And always vanilla ice cream for dessert. The house would be bustling with kids running & being loud, adults visiting, laughing, and singing. I would fall asleep on a couch cozied up to my mom, listening to the adults visit late into the night.
Most of these memories are from before I was 10-12-years-old. I had an amazing, carefree childhood filled with so many beautiful memories. I knew I was safe and cared for. My home was comforting, stable, and full of love for us 10 children.
I’m so thankful for my Christian parents and all they gave to me. They taught me that what God thought of us mattered more than what anyone else thought of us. I always knew that living for Jesus was the most important goal. My mom was firm about Jesus being our Master and the Bible holding the answers to life’s questions. I pray I can be like them in so many ways! By God’s grace, they gave me a wonderful life!
Here’s to loving parents devoted to raising up godly men & women, nothing more and nothing less! I was given a firm foundation on which to build my faith. The seeds of faith were planted in my childhood and were watered and nurtured into my adulthood until it was time to leave home and begin my own family. Though I did not have my mom here on earth as an adult, I cling fast to the wisdom she bestowed on me as a child. And praise God for the Christian parents He has blessed me with even now.