Born Too Late


My husband was driving to work the other day when he called me about 30 times because he had sent me a picture. Not just any picture, a picture that made him think of me, and my blog. Uh-oh, he reads my blog? I guess I better stop making fun of him.

Of course when he was calling I was busy getting 7 kids off and going for the day. You’d think the big ones could handle it all on their own, but no, even the one in high school would never finish her English homework if good ole Mom didn’t make her “git r done”!  My mornings are so full of finding shoes and signing folders and double checking that faces are clean- it gets pretty crazy. By the time I made it back home I sat down in my chair and *sigh* the phone rang again. “Did you see it?” He was bubbling over. “Give me five minutes!” I hadn’t even fed the dogs yet! I finally opened my email to check out this picture that had him burning up my phone in the middle of my daily dose of chaos.

And what d’ya know? He was right! I absolutely love it.

Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong decade. I would have loved the Mom and Pop stores and Marilyn Monroe on the big screen. I hate Wal-mart and the cookie cutter merchandise and the way they pretend to be a part of the neighborhood. I am lucky enough to have seen my Dad run a hardward store where people still had charge accounts, not credit cards, charge accounts. It was one of the last little towns to still exist that way, it was beautiful, but it grew and changed and said goodbye to the old ways. I would love to go back in time and live a simpler existence. I should have been a kid when they built go carts out of soap boxes, or a teenager back when a boy had to give out a promise ring to get to 2nd base. To me, there’s nothing wrong with being just a little bit old fashioned.

My grandpa always told me about the Saturdays he spent as a kid. He loved to go to the movies, and for a nickel he could see a double feature and treat himself to a hot dog, some popcorn and a coke! Can you imagine? The last time I took the kids to the movies it was $87 just to get in the door.

The thing I long for most is just simple family time. I love to cook big ole dinners. The more the merrier, I say! But our house is so small that we can’t all sit at the table and eat dinner together. I’m working so hard to get a new family room built on our house just because I want to set the table. I want the kids to pile around it. I want Ward to ask the Beaver “how was school today, son?” I wanna clear the dishes together and listen to their laughter as they help wash them.  And then I want everyone back in their chairs for a lively game of BS or UNO or whatever!

I hate eating dinner in shifts, some people in the kitchen, some on the couch, some crouched wherever they can squeeze in. I can’t help but think if we had taken on this monumental task 50 years ago the whole neighborhood would have come together and helped us out. But times have changed, and there are so many needs out there, a family too crowded to eat dinner isn’t the most tragic thing around. In fact, it would be nice if that were the worst situation in the neighborhood. Instead there are kids going hungry, and kids all alone, and kids turning to drugs and the streets just to make them feel like they’ve got a home. There aren’t many neighbors left in this world who will sit an extra kid at the table. I try my best to be that kind of neighbor. I’ll loan you a cup of sugar or a stick of butter or my phone when yours goes down. When I see a picture like that store, I think of those kinds of neighbors- the ones who became family.

My grandpa knew the kind of neighbors that not only would have watched your house when you were out of town, but they would have patched a hole in your roof had it leaked when you weren’t around. What happened to people like that? Neighborhoods used to have gathering spots and everyone got to know everyone else and kids had to listen to every grown-up they passed by. There was none of this “don’t you talk to my kid like that” nonsense. Back then if a kid was playing in the street, no one got on their cell phone and called CPS, they rolled down the window and said “get out of the street!” I wish I could raise my kids in a neighborhood like that. I wish we could all raise our kids in a  neighborhood like that.

I don’t mind living in the same little house that I hated 13 years ago. My husband rented this house because we needed a 3 bedroom after the birth of our oldest son. It was supposed to be temporary. But the landlord loved us for fixing things around here, and she made us a deal we couldn’t refuse, and now we own this little box. Somehow it’s become something of a treasure chest. When it’s all said and done, it will have raised a lot of kids! I’m sure hoping it’s remodeled long before they’re grown, but I’d love for them to come back and say “I miss this little old house.”

If they do, I bet the Mom and Pop are on the front porch, missing them too!

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13 responses »

  1. I loved the Mom and Pop stores and the family time of the past, too! My mom has told me the sweetest stories about her family dinners – they are priceless. We try to incorporate a no TV family dinner night at least twice a week and it is a special time. Great post! 🙂

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