“But whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: Fathers and mothers, if you have children, they must come first. You must read to your children and you must hug your children and you must love your children. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House but on what happens inside your house” (Barbara Bush, as quoted in the Washington Post, 2 June 1990, 2).
Elder James E. Faust quoted her in a lesson in the Marriage and Family Relations manual (Lesson 12)
I read aloud to Firstborn when I was nursing her, in our tiny basement apartment in Provo. I read aloud to all our children, and they have all become readers, although it came more easily to some than to others.
One of my best memories is of walking out into the living room to find a seven year old Secondborn sitting in the rocking chair with Middlest (4) on one knee and Fourthborn (2) on the other, reading to them from the Book of Mormon. Flawlessly. She never stumbled over the and it came to pass-es or the inasmuchas-es or the behooveth-s. BittyBubba (her older son) was reading the Book of Mormon on his own when he was four.
Another good memory is of six year old Middlest and four year old Fourthborn walking down the street hollering the Primary song, I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ at the top of their lungs. Oh how I wish they felt to sing so now.
Mothering adults is a whole 'nuther animal from mothering babies or toddlers or teenagers. I love my kids, and I am almost unreservedly proud of them. They are amazing people. Smart, decent, generally kind, forgiving to one degree or another, and frequently hilarious. I don't spend as much time with them as I would like, or probably should. More than one has expressed the wish that I lived closer.
But I like this house which I have inherited from Beloved. I'm into the third year of (what I hope is only) my five year plan to declutter, repaint, reorganize, rehome, rinse and repeat. Fourthborn and I made progress (minimal progress, but still progress) on projects this weekend. I want to get a whale of a lot more done next weekend, when I'll have Memorial Day off. The big kitchen window is approaching completion, and the Wall Words are applied to the double doors housing the water heater and furnace. I am so pleased with what we got done. But the humidity prevented our doing much of anything else. (Can't spray paint the inside of the vent grille for the kitchen ceiling because the paint won't dry properly when it's this muggy.)
Frankly, I do not want to move again. My hope is to stay in this house until they carry me out feet first in about 40 years. I just want to live here in peace and quiet, with an easy commute to and from work down streets of old residential neighborhoods. I want to gradually get rid of everything I do not absolutely need, so that cleaning is quick and easy, and I can spend the rest of my time creating or working on family history or otherwise serving.
When I went to the temple last week, I took a concern with me, to pray over. I got no specific answer, but I did come home feeling peaceful, and I felt confident that when the time was right, the answer would be given to me. There may be more to it, but I got a big answer in Relief Society today, in the comments of two sisters.
Moved. Me. To. Tears.
Fourthborn had an excellent suggestion yesterday. I had months ago expressed the desire to muck out the garage after the weather had warmed up but before it became too hot to drag everything out and go through it. She thought that next weekend might be ideal, as we would have two working days and a day of rest in between. I could see the logic in her suggestion and gave her a reluctant yes. After sleeping on it, I told her I did not want to proceed at this time. I want to finish the kitchen this year and get the last of the building materials out of the dining room and living room. I want to redo my bedroom. We have several sub-projects that are almost done. I want them done done. And if my bedroom goes more quickly than some of the other rooms have gone, we might be ready to start on the garage when things start cooling off in November or December. Or January. Or February.
This is Texas. The window between ice storms and heat prostration is a narrow one, indeed.
- Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!