For the first three years of my life, I was my parents’ youngest child, and my sister, Cheryl Spencer Masterson, their oldest, of course. That meant that while our dad, Allen Spencer worked, Cheryl and I got to hang out with Mom. And since we lived just across the yard from my Uncle Bill Spencer and Aunt Doris Spencer, we got to hang out with Aunt Doris and our cousin Pam Spencer Wendling as well. Oh, the times we had!! Of course, our dads were there too, and then we got to go other places and do things that the moms wouldn’t take us to do alone. Those were either too far or too crowded. I think for my dad, taking us out to Lake Superior was the most special thing to do. He loved taking pictures of his girls enjoying the sunshine, the outdoors, and the time spent with mom and dad…even though it looks like it was just the girls hanging out with Mom. In reality, the time girls spend with their moms show them what women should be like…a very good reason for moms to be careful about the way they come across to their girls. Little girls watch their mom clean and cook. They watch the way they dress, and how they act, and how they treat their husband. Boys do the same thing with their dads, but today is about hanging out with my mom.
I can’t say that I always followed Mom’s examples on things, we were two different people, after all, and we led different lives as adult women. Still, my mom’s values, or her teaching thereof, took root, and are still with me to this day. While I didn’t always understand why she liked things the way she did sometimes, I do understand why now. I was a different person then, younger and less aware of how I would feel about things in the future. And now that my mom is in Heaven, I can’t tell you just how often I would love to call her up to get her advise on things. I think that it is so unfortunate that kids don’t realize just how important their parents are to them, until its too late. Of course, I knew that my parents were very important to me, but even though I can say that honestly, I can also honestly say that I still didn’t know just how important they were until that were gone, because once your parents are gone, the missing them is endless. You look back on the times you had with them, now with the full awareness that you can’t have those times again on this Earth, and you find out just how precious those times were. Your mind starts thinking just how much you wish you could go back, while carrying the knowledge you now have, and spend those precious moments focused on your parents more, and not just acknowledging that they are your parents, while thinking that they will always be there. Truly, if we could do that, more of us would probably hang out with them a little more often, and not squander that precious time.
Today, marks 11 months since my mom went to Heaven. I miss her every day, and never a day goes by that I don’t think of her and Dad, now happily together again forever. I know they know how much we all love them, but they are so happy in Heaven, that I truly cannot wish them back to a world filled with the ugliness of today. Nevertheless, I look forward to the day when we will all be together again, so we can hang out for eternity. We love and miss you Mom and Dad. We will see you soon.
About the time my sister, Cheryl turned 12 and went to junior high school, things started to change around our house. We had always danced in some form in the house, but not much of the dancing that went along with rock music. That year marked the end of the immature child’s play for Cheryl, and the introduction of the teenage world for the rest of us. Cheryl and her friends practiced dancing in our living room every chance they got, and the rest of us tried to follow along. As with most people, there were those of us who had a natural rhythm, and those of us who…just didn’t. Unfortunately, I found myself in the latter category. Maybe I was just in those awkward pre-teen years, or something, I don’t really know, but for whatever reason, I was more the bull in the china closet type of dancer. It wasn’t that I hit anything, but more that my moves were really klutzy and I couldn’t seem to hear the beat or find any semblance of rhythm. I suppose that in time and with a lot of practice, I could have figured it out, but I simply decided that I was probably never going to be much of a dancer, and for many years, I danced only with my sisters in the living room, because I figured that if they laughed at my moves, I could live with that, but if my friends did so, it would be the most humiliating thing that could ever possibly happen, and something I chose not to risk.
I don’t recall just how good my little sisters were, but I remember that Alena has always been a pretty good dancer. She was a lot like Cheryl in that way…just a natural talent for it. Caryl, does real well these days too, and has even taken dancing lessons, so she can do some of the really cool dances from days gone by…like the ballroom type of dancing. I don’t remember just how good Allyn was, but then she was only three years old when we started dancing in the living room, so I’m sure she was uninhibited and we all thought she did just fine…and she seems to do just fine these days too. In a way, my younger sisters might have been given a great advantage with those early dancing days, because they weren’t in the awkward years of growth, and they weren’t self conscious either.
Even though I felt self conscious in those days, I still stuck it out, because it was fun to hang out with Cheryl’s older friends and my sisters, doing something totally goofy…at least in my mind. I don’t remember if Cheryl ever hated having all her younger sisters hanging out in the same space as she and her friends were, but my guess is that she probably did, because having all your little sisters hanging with your friends is always tough when you are a tween or teen. Nevertheless, she was stuck with us…at least for those dance sessions, and it was probably ok with her if we danced with her when her friends weren’t there. Whatever the case may be, I learned pretty much all of the little bit I know of dancing right there in my parents living room, with my sisters, and I learned that dancing isn’t exactly my forte.