Since becoming disabled, my son-in-law, Kevin Petersen has struggled to redefine himself. He can’t be on his feet for very long, and he can’t sit very long either. During the years since he was disabled, my daughter, Corrie Petersen, Kevin’s wife, has been pretty much single-handedly been taking care of him. Soon,it became apparent that Corrie needed a new carer. One that would be more fulfilling and one that would pay better. After much prayer, it was decided that Corrie would go back to school to become a nurse. They knew this was going to be a difficult road, that would become much harder when nursing school began. After 2 years of taking her prerequisites, Corrie started nursing school two weeks ago.

Since August 20th, Kevin has reversed the roles. Now, while here are times Kevin need’s Corrie to be his caregiver, these days he is taking care of her. While Kevin must take frequent rest periods, he is cleaning the house, washing the laundry, and cooking the meals while Corrie is in school, at work, or studying. Each week of this stage of Corrie’s studies requires more work for her, and it isn’t going to get any easier until she graduates. Kevin wants to do his part. In many ways nursing school might have actually been harder for Corrie is Kevin was working, although I suppose he would be stronger too, if he wasn’t disabled. Needless to say, this process hasn’t been easy for Kevin either, and I am very proud of how he has stepped up to make this journey easier on Corrie.

When Kevin has some free time, he has been working on the Cyclone car his dad, Dean Petersen gave him a while back. He has also decided to try his hand at painting and drawing with different kinds of paint. Kevin has been dealing with tremors in his hands these days, so I’m sure painting and drawing is quite a challenge. During the times when Kevin has to lay down for a while, he has a companion who is very excited about those naps…their dog, Dottie. Dottie is a Scottish Terrier, and she totally loves Kevin. When Kevin needs to lay down, he tells Dottie they are going to take a nap. Dottie gets very excited. She is like a kid, except that she likes naps. She runs to the bedroom door and waits for Kevin to come. Then, Dottie settles herself on Corrie’s pillow. It has become Dottie’s place when Corrie isn’t there. She loves napping with Kevin. When Dottie is outside, and Kevin has his shoes on, she won’t come in the house, because she thinks it’s time to go somewhere, and she doesn’t want to be left at home. She loves Kevin so much and she wants to be with him all the time. She is content to do what Kevin can do, and rest when he needs to, so it’s good for both of them. She is a great companion. Today is Kevin’s birthday. Happy birthday Kevin!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Aunt SandyI was talking to my Aunt Sandy a short time ago, and we were discussing past history and how things used to be done. She mentioned something I hadn’t thought about for a long time. I have seen these, as I’m sure many of you have, and I even saw one on Facebook yesterday. These machines, which really have no business being called machines, since it is completely run be your own arm power, or elbow grease, as my mom would call it. I’m talking, of course, of the wringer washing machine. At one time, I’m sure this was the crème de la crème of washing machines. Prior to that marvelous invention, women scrubbed their clothes on a wash board, and wring it out by hand. Even after the wringer machine was invented, the clothes that were really stained had to be scrubbed on that old washboard.

Aunt Sandy told me about her own memories of washing clothes on that old wringer washing machine, and just how hard it was to use. Of course, as a kid, she might have liked working that old machine too. It can be fun for a while. I’ve had occasion to try one of those wringer washers before, and I can tell you first hand that when the clothes went between the two rollers of the wringer, and you had to be the one to crank those wringers, you found out real fast what elbow grease was all about. It wasn’t long before your arms felt like wet dish rags…very sore wet wash rags. And the next day…well you could hardly move. Maybe that’s why they only did the laundry one day a week. I mean, who could stand to do it more often than that. I know that it would give most of us more than sore arms. We would probably have a headache too.

So much has changed since those days. Washing machines really are machines now, and they wash the clothes with no effort on our part. There are sprays to get the stains out and the machine does everything from the scrubbing to spin drying. The hardest thing we have to do is fold the clothes when they are done drying in the dryer, which is a machine wringer washing machinenow too…as opposed to the clothes line and the wind.

When I think about how little time has really passed since the women of yesteryear worked a lot harder to do the same work that we do in a matter of minutes these days, I am amazed. From the mind of one inventor creating the wringer washer, to the mind of another creating a machine to do all that work for you, our world has progressed from the harsh and almost primitive way of doing laundry, when women scrubbed their clothes on a washboard or even a rock, to the ease of our modern machinery that takes all the work out of a big job, and makes it easy.

My grandson, Christopher, always loved to play in boxes, baskets, cupboards, or any other possible hiding place. I’m not sure why he liked these places, but I do know that picture after picture of my grandson finds him grinning happily from his hiding place as he peeks out to see if anyone is watching him, or if his parents can find him.

I am always amazed by the things toddlers see as being all important. Little ones are continually watching their parents and other adults around them to see what they are doing. Little did we know that our every move would be watched and mimicked…until we had kids that is. It makes you want to think about the things you do and say, doesn’t it? Children interpret the actions of adults as being what the cool kids do. Then they do everything in their power to imitate those people who are so important to them.

We always found that with Christopher, the household chores were the most important part of his day. His waking hours would find him “folding clothes” or should I say, unfolding the ones Corrie had in the basket or taking the unfolded clothes out of the basket, because there was something about that basket that made it very important. If it was a good enough place for the clothes, it was good enough for Christopher…so, clothes removed, enter Christopher, and there he would be sitting in the basket grinning…with the clothes all around the basket.

Christopher was also very interested in the kitchen work. Given a free moment from taking care of all the family’s laundry, Christopher would make his way into the kitchen to start dinner for the family. Pots and pans would come out of the cupboards in preparation for the days meals. Sometimes, it seems the pans had moved to the back of the cupboard…as pans will find a way of doing, but little trooper that he was, Christopher would simply climb into the cupboard and crawl back to the back to retrieve the exact pan necessary to making the meal he was working on.

When you are taking care of your family, Christopher always found that the day’s work was never really done. He “worked and worked” all day long…as his parents went along behind him picking up the clutter left behind…but really, how could they be upset when Christopher would present that precious, grinning little face. After all, we can always use a little help in the kitchen…right?

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