It’s hard to believe that my mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg has been in Heaven over four years now. She was such a big influence in my life for over 43 years. She was my second mom, and I loved her very much. I know that not everyone can really say they love their in-laws, but I was blessed in that I could. My mother-in-law was a capable homemaker, and she did all the “homemade” things she could. From her cooking and baking, including “murder” cake (a fudge-lovers dream) and the best caramel pecan cinnamon rolls you have ever tasted, to her clothing and knitted sweaters, she was someone who was impossible to “live up to.” I say that in a loving way, but you couldn’t out “homemake” my mother-in-law. And her work was perfect. Still, she was one that was willing to teach you what she knew, without making you feel inadequate.
For almost all of her married life, my mother-in-law was a homemaker. I believe there was a short time…maybe a year early on, when she worked, but mostly, she had a family to take care of and that was her career. I know that many people think that a woman should have a career, but the truth is that most of them would just love to be able to stay home and raise a family. There are a few out there, who are blessed to be able to do just that, and she was one of them. Now don’t get me wrong, a homemaker works as hard as any other career, and maybe harder. They have to wear many hats…nurse, chef, maid, seamstress, accountant, counselor, chauffer, teacher, and many more. They don’t work an 8-hour day, their day starts early and often goes into the late night. Still, my mother-in-law loved her job, and she loved her family. She also found time to make things like afghans that she could sell at craft fairs in town. She also made dish cloths and hot mits. Her things were beautiful and sold very well. She reminds me of the verse in the Bible, “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants,” Proverbs 31:24. That was what she did.
I think though, for my mother-in-law, that one of the greatest things to have happen was that her first great grandchild was born on her birthday. Her mother, Nettie Knox, had the privilege of having her first great grandchild, Corrie Petersen, being born on her birthday. Then, Corrie managed to give her grandma the very same gift…her first great grandchild born on her birthday. Mom and Chris Petersen loved that as much as Corrie and Grandma Knox did. It was their special thing. And today marks the 26th anniversary of that gift…as Chris turns 26 years old. Today would have been my mother-in-law’s 91st birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Mom Schulenberg. We love and miss you very much.
Karen is my grandson, Chris Petersen’s fiancé, and they are having my first great grandchild, a baby girl, just about any time. Since she was just a little girl, Karen has wanted to be a mommy, so this baby is a dream come true. I have seen Karen with her friends’ babies, and it’s plain to see that Karen is totally in her element with babies. She is going to be an amazing mom. Her sweet disposition and her caring ways really shine when she is caring for and playing with a baby. Her little girl is due on my daughter, Amy Royce’s birthday, but you just never know when these babies will decide to make their appearance. Early or late, we don’t have very long to wait, that’s for sure.
Karen has a great sense of humor, and loves to pull of a good joke or prank, and since she has been around my grandsons, Chris and Josh, her pranks, like theirs, tend to be aimed at the grandma…me. Of course, they are all in good fun, and so nothing to get upset about, but it is plain to see that those boys have corrupted that sweet girl already!! Hahaha!! It’s a good thing for her that Karens/Caryns have to stick together (as she puts it), because if that weren’t the case, I might have to retaliate on some of the pranks she has pulled on me.
Karen has been such a great blessing to my daughter, Corrie Petersen, and her husband, Kevin, who always wanted a daughter, and consider Karen to be the daughter they never had. And to top it off, she is giving them a granddaughter, which they really never expected to have. For Corrie and Kevin, this is a twofold dream come true and they are excited beyond words. For them and for me, we love Karen because of the happiness she has brought to Chris’ life. I have never seen my grandson so happy and fulfilled. For him, there is nothing he wants more that to have a family. He is so ready to be a husband and daddy, and I have been so impressed with him as he prepares for the birth of his little girl, and I attribute much of that to Karen. They have been stashing away a savings for after the baby’s birth, and buying diapers so that when she arrives, Karen can stay home with her for a few months. I am so excited for all the wonderful things that are coming in their future…many good things ahead. Today is Karen’s birthday. Happy birthday Karen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
It is somewhat rare to be able to take pictures of five generations of a family. Many people are able to take four generation pictures, but five is not always possible. When my two oldest grandchildren were just babies, we were able to get that picture that so many people would love to have. The pictures we took were and are pictures we will always treasure.
Many people think that five generation pictures represent the ability to live long lives, and that is true, but so much more is represented in those treasured pictures. Five generations represents the wisdom of age being passed down from generation to generation, and that is exactly what we did have in our family. Things like the ability to grow your own food in a garden or raise cattle, chickens, and horses. The ability to knit, sew, embroider, and crochet things like clothing, blankets, table cloths, pillow cases, and so much more. It was these abilities being taught by the older generation to the next, and the next, and the next generation. What a blessing to have these things taught to a great grandchild, who can then teach it to their child, grand child, and great grandchild. A child learning from its parent, who learned from their parents, and grandparents.
So much wisdom and knowledge has been passed down this way. In fact, we would not know how to do many things that we know, were it not for the generations the came before us. When I look at these pictures, I remember the things we learned for Bob’s grandparents. From card games played out between ruthless partners, to recipes like Grandma’s Strawberry Rhubarb Jam…which was the best jam I have ever tasted. It’s almost as if the wisdom and knowledge of the prior generation has been entrusted to the next generation to pass on to the future generations. Our grandparents and great grandparents have given us the best that was in them, in the hope that through us, they might live on. It is almost a sacred trust.
Since the time of these pictures, the babies have reached the age of 16, and Grandma has since passed away. Her words, stories, wisdom, knowledge, and especially her love continue to live on in my memory. She was a very special lady, and I only wish my grandchildren could have known her…not just have been in a picture with her. She lived so much of the history they only know from books, and she could have taught them so much. Unfortunately, the miles that separated us from her, made any real relationship with her impossible during their early years, and before they were old enough to remember her much, she was gone. She passed away on March 28, 1998, just 2 years and one month after the birth of those babies. I just hope that the things she taught her son, my father-in-law, who taught his son, my husband, can be remembered by his children, my daughters, to pass on to their children, my grandchildren, and to their children, and their children, and on into the generations beyond.