Well, the past several weeks we have been concentrating on moving into our new apartment. It has really been quite an experience. It is the first move of my life where I had no responsibility and Jim did all of the work. Bless his little heart. He took care of all of the arrangements and the movers (I did do a little packing, but not much) and he did a most wonderful job. I did help unpack and place the furniture but it wasn’t nearly as hard as our usual moves. It was stress-free for me but not so much for him. Since he has retired and has taken over all of the “wifely” duties, he has become acutely aware of the stress and responsiblities that women have borne over the years. He often asks me “How did you do this all those years without any help.” I always answered “Because it was what I was suppose to do.”
When we were young, our generation was taught that women had certain responsibilities as far as keeping house, raising the children, and just generally taking care of the family. When Dad came home, his day ended. My mother’s generation (for the most part) were stay-at-home moms. But as we evolved it became necessary in order to financially survive, for both parents to work. Not only did I take care of my family but I held a full-time job as well. It was always the same every day. Get up, get 3 children ready for school or day care, drop off at school or day care, work until 5, pick up chidren from day care or extended care, go home, start supper, help with homework, cook a full meal (back then we all sat down at the table together and no one left the table until everyone was done). Fast food was unheard of in those days. Dad would retire to the family room to watch TV and I would clean the kitchen. We did not have a dishwasher then (just me). Actually, I kinda liked washing the dishes. I would sing my heart out. I had the delusion that I sounded a lot like Dolly Parton. LOL It was kinda therapeutic and I would solve a lot of problems or sort things out as I was washing the dishes, plus the hot water always felt so soothing on my hands. There was something satisfying about the squeaky cleanness of the dishes.
After dishes, it was up the stairs to help the children finish up their homework, get their baths, a bedtime story and then off to bed. Up and down the stairs several times because someone had the “after dark crud” and could not sleep. Pretty soon, I gave up on going upstairs and instead resort to yelling “Don’t make me come up there. If I send your father up there you are going to be sorry.” It’s funny how a man who was always laying on the couch could be such a forceful disciplinary tool when the children were not doing what I had told them to do a hundred times. All it took was one time and then everything would quiet down and peace would descend. Now it is time to make lunches and make sure everyone has something clean to wear for the next day. By the time I finish and take my shower, it is quite late and the hubby is already in bed.
It is after midnight and I am exhausted and then it seems I had just closed my eyes and it is 5:30 and I have to get up and start over again, make breakfast for the children, dress the children, find lost shoes, socks, school books, home work, you name it, it got lost. My children always did their homework, I know that for a fact because I labored over it with them, but inevitably one of them would lose it between our house and the school. And, of course, I would not find this out until I attended a parent/teacher conference and the teacher informed me that my child had failed to turn in his homework and that we needed to work on this. So after the day was over, we would all come home and do it all over again. After the children got older, our nightly routine changed somewhat and included taking three children to either piano, dance, gymnastics, baseball, football, etc. Sometimes we would have to split up and one would go to Jimmy’s game and the other to Mike’s game. Debbie’s favorites were piano and gymnastics and that was usually my domain. And of course, with this change came the change of dinner time… fast food evolved, eating on the run and no one having the same schedule. Now wasn’t that exciting… maybe not… but certainly exhausting.
Our daughter, Debbie, died in a tragic automobile accident when she was 16 and we miss her so much every day of our lives, but that is another story. Our boys are adults now and our son, Jim Jr., is the father of 2 children and is married to Christina, who has a son, Kenny. Mike is not married but enjoys his life very much and is very much involved in all family activities. Our granddaughter, Autumn, is an adult now, having graduated from high school and out on her own now. Our grandson, Kenny is 18 and will graduate June, 2015. Our grandson, Hunter, is 13 years old now and he is a hoot. We have had him around us since the day he was born and have a wonderful relationship with him. I enjoy being around him so much and he cracks me up with his witicisms. I will try to enjoy this phase, because I am sure as he gets older this relationship will change also.
Our house is pretty quiet now and I get to bed at a reasonable time (some would say too reasonable). I miss the hustle and bustle of raising a family and the advice I would give to anyone would be to enjoy it while it is happening. Live in the moment, because it is fleeting, and it is gone before you know it. I do know one thing, I certainly miss the moment.