My son-in-law, Kevin has always been a capable home renovator. He has fixed up and beautified each of the homes he and my daughter, Corrie and their family have lived it. It was a big part of what made him feel useful. Since he became disabled, I worried that he would no longer be able to do the projects he wanted to do on their home. In some ways, that has been the case. He is in pain often, and that limits the activity he can do. Nevertheless, Kevin is a very determined person. When he sets his mind to a task, he sees it through, even if it takes him much longer than it would have years ago.
This summer found Kevin deciding to reside their mobile home. They sold their house and paid cash for this mobile home when Corrie went back to school. They knew that with school and Kevin’s disabilities, they would need to reduce the family budget, and since their sons, Chris and Josh, are now grown and living on their own, they could downsize and save money. They bought a two bedroom mobile home and paid for it in full. It was nice, but it was older.
Kevin has worked on the interior, whenever his pain level allowed, and it looks very nice now. Still, the exterior was very dated and dingy looking. It was not what they wanted it to be. Corrie worked a great deal of overtime hours this summer, and it allowed them to buy new siding. They were very excited. Kevin has worked off and on putting up the siding for several weeks now, and the results have been amazing. Kevin even surprised Corrie with a cute floral “Welcome” sign for the front of the home. She had no idea he was doing that. The siding looks very professional, but that is how all of Kevin’s work looks. He doesn’t like to do a job half way or sloppy. That’s just not Kevin’s style.
We are all very proud of the beautiful job Kevin did on the siding. We know the sacrifices he made to get this done…and done right. We know the aches and pain he went through, and we are very proud of his accomplishment on the house. Once again, with determination, he persevered; and the work he did is just beautiful. Today is Kevin’s birthday. Happy birthday Kevin!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
While it isn’t uncommon never to have met your great grandparents, I nevertheless, find it rather sad. Through my Great Aunt Bertha Schumacher Hallgren’s journal, I have heard so much about my Great Grandparents Schumacher, and in many ways I feel like I have known them all my life. When I look at the picture I have of them hanging on my living room wall, the faces seem familiar and welcoming to me. I feel like I know their personalities, likes and dislikes, and the struggles they had during their lives, and yet, I know the strength they had too, because through it all, they persevered. They raised a wonderful family of strong people who went on to lead successful lives and to raise wonderful children. Of course, the picture I have of them does not show smiling faces, because that was not really done in those days for photographs, but when I look into their eyes, I see a soft gentleness living there…a kindness, because that was the kind of people my great grandparents were. I know that from the words their daughter wroter about them.
I know that my great grandfather loved horses, and worked hard caring for a rich landowner’s horses to earn the money to come to the new world, where he could have land and horses of his own. He had a dream, and he was bound and determined to make his dream come true…and he did. He succeeded so well, in fact, that his family thought he must be rich when he came to see him. I don’t think he considered himself rich, but his family was comfortable, and their needs were met. The children had a carriage to ride to school in, so they didn’t have to trudge three miles to school. The family had a sizeable place, and a number of horses, which shows me that my great grandfather fulfilled his dreams, and was a great provider for his family. He worked hard, and he wouldn’t have had things be any other way. He knew the value of what he had. Family was everything and he felt like his was the best one there ever was.
All these things I can get from pictures and from Bertha’s journal, but one of the most profound statements about her dad came when Bertha wrote, “HE LOVED HIS FAMILY!!” Her emphesis was so obvious. She typed it all in capital letters basically to show the world how strongly she felt about that statement. It wasn’t something she felt like she was obligated to write, but was rather, a statement from the heart. I think my grandfather was a kind and gentle man, who lovingly cared for his family, and especially his wife, who had Rheumatoid Artheritis for years. Nevertheless, he carried the load of the family with the help of his children, and that is a man I can’t wait to meet. My grandmother too was the kind of person who dealt with her pain with little complait, and raised a beautiful family in spite of it all. I look forward to the day when we will meet in Heaven, and I can sit down and really get to know these wonderful people.
When you see a cute picture like this one of my aunts, Bonnie, Dixie, and Sandy, you immediately think, “Oh, those girls must be best friends and sisters, not just sisters. Or their parents must have really trained them very well, for them to stand there so obediently.” Well, you would be right most of the time, but as we all know, siblings fight sometimes and kids act out occasionally.
Younger siblings can be a joy and a pain…within minutes of each other. They can make you laugh and then make you mad, usually because they are so needy. Then, when the older siblings become teenagers, every request, every question, and especially the presence of the younger sibling within a mile of the older one, is a huge annoyance, and some things are the worst thing in the world!!
We have all been there…at least any of us with younger siblings, or even cousins, so you can’t exactly fault your own kids when they try to do the same things you did. You can hope they won’t, but you really need to be realistic. It’s just the way things go in families. There will come a day when they will be friends for life…when they will look back at these days and think about how silly they were to worry about having their younger sibling around them. Like it was going to steal all their coolness away. We realize that they just wanted to be like us, because they thought we were so cool. How could they not see the serious lack of confidence we had? How we felt so very not cool, and we were trying to show the world that we really were cool. Thankfully those days are very short in the total of our life. And thankfully during those days, that feel like forever, there are a few golden moments when they forget that they don’t want that younger sibling around.
It is in those precious moments that they find that it’s kind of fun to have someone who looks up to you. It isn’t something that happens very much, after all. They see that they are someone of value to this, their younger sibling. They find that they like helping out. After all, it’s just a helping hand to get up on the bed of a pickup, because the littlest girl can stand behind her taller sisters and it will make a great picture. And it is kind of funny when you are both a little clumsy at getting her up there, because while she is your little sister, she isn’t so much smaller that you can easily lift her, so you let her push up on you and she slips a little, and the whole thing is so comical that all you can do is giggle. Pretty soon, it isn’t just her who is saying, “A little help, please!!” It’s both of you, because you can’t stop laughing long enough to get her up there.
Bob’s Aunt Marion was a wonderful, hard working woman, who died in 1999 at the age of 72. She always seemed so young and full of life, but I guess that is what comes from staying so busy that you don’t have time to notice advancing age or illness. She raised 8 hard working children, 5 girls and 3 boys. Her youngest son is actually younger than her first grandson.
I was always a little in awe of Aunt Marion. She seemed to have it all together. Nothing phased her, and yet she never made you feel like she better than you, or that you were worthless. We didn’t get to see her as often as we would have liked, but always enjoyed the times we got to spend with her and her family. Her kids were very much like her, so they remind me a lot of their mom.
Aunt Marion’s husband, Uncle John passed away a few days ago on December 13th at the age of 85, and I have found myself thinking about him and the kids a lot. They told us that he worked hard all summer, and apparently didn’t tell them that he had cancer, until it had advanced to the point of much pain. It breaks my heart to think of him suffering in silence, working hard, and hoping that his children…who work with him in the family business, by the way…won’t notice. It’s so hard on the kids to think back, looking for a sign, and wondering if they should have noticed more. It brings quite a lot of guilty feelings and regret. In reality, I’m sure there was nothing they could have done, other than to provide moral support, but if that is all you can do, you feel better if you were given the chance to do it.
I have thought a lot about Aunt Marion through the years, and I’m sure I will do the same with Uncle John. I’m thankful that neither one is in pain anymore, but I wish that they were both still with us. It is always so hard to deal with loss. I know it is natural…the circle of life, but it seems to get harder with each and every loved one that leaves us. I don’t think I like it much…natural or not.
Today is Father’s Day, and while I wish all the dads a happy Father’s Day, I feel a little bit like an orphan. My dad went to Heaven 3 1/2 years ago, and it is something I will never really get over. I have felt like the impossible has happened. The world has continued to go on and my Dad hasn’t. It is just wrong that the world should go on as if nothing happened when our loved ones have left this world. I have feel like the world should sit up and take notice…why doesn’t it? Why?
I guess it is supposed to get easier…that time will dull the pain…but how long does that take? There are times when it seems like it has gotten worse. My heart doesn’t seem to know that it is supposed to hurt less with time. It just hurts!! I miss my Dad!! That doesn’t change!!
So, that said, my Dad is very much on my mind and heart today, as he is every day. He was such a sweet caring man…so patient with his girls, and I for one was a bit of a challenge. I always liked a…good debate…no I liked to argue, and I was very opinionated. But Dad was patient and put up with it…most of the time. And we had an understanding about it. When he said, “Don’t argue with me!!” I didn’t..anymore…at least for that moment. I knew that was the end of the discussion…he had had enough. Dad rarely lost his temper, even when we argued. He just got done.
Dad was a quiet hero. He fought for his country during World War II, but never spoke of it, unless we pried it out of him. He never thought of himself as a hero. On a rare occasion, when I took him to the airport to see the B-17 bombers, which is what he was on during the war, he told me a few things. He talked about where he stood and how he worked his gun. He talked about the work he did as flight engineer. The flight engineer was the go to man in any emergency. He had to know the systems and be able to do anything the ground crew could. If the plane was in trouble, he was the best chance they had to avoid a crash. That day did come for my dad’s crew when the landing gear wouldn’t come down, and my dad had to hang upside down in the bomb bay area and crank down the landing gear, saving the lives of his crew members.
Dad was all that to our country, and yet such a good dad. He always knew what to do to solve a problem. Maybe that came from his training, but I really think it came from his deep love for his family. He would have done anything to fix things for his family. He was an amazing husband and dad. We were so blessed to have him in our lives, and I just wish he was still here. Happy Father’s Day Daddy!! I love you and I can’t wait to see you again!!