So, I’ve always been the weirdest person you know, but I have an excuse. I grew up with TWO stay-at-home parents. In this day of working moms, it is hard to imagine that was even possible.
If any of my high-school classmates are reading this, do you remember in Mr. Sauer’s 9th grade civics class in which he taught us the acronym, DINKS? Standing for Dual Income, No Kids. Well, my parents didn’t follow that route…they had 5 kids in 6 years. Yet, another reason I may be the weirdest person you know.
Anyhow, back to the subject of two stay-at-home parents. My mom was busy bouncing babies and taming toddlers inside the house. My dad, on the other hand, was outside on the farm, but very much still at home to me.
My dad ALWAYS ate dinner with us. Supper, too. Breakfast when we weren’t in school. Mashed potatoes with beef roast for our noon meal wasn’t unusual. I didn’t really realize that wasn’t normal for a lot of years of my life.
My dad was always teaching us. He taught me how to snap when I was watching him milk cows in the barn. (I never did catch on to his whistling.) I remember him giving me a big push on my banana-seat bike as he was talking to the neighbor boy and that’s when I first learned how to pedal and not fall.
One of the most fantastic things my dad taught while at home with us kids, was that we were capable. To lift bales of hay. To bring water to the calves (which my banana-seat bike assisted me with for over 8 years). To use a pitchfork. To be a part of a team that is your family.
It is fun to think that my dad, a dairy farmer with 50 cows, did not milk a cow from 1986-1996. (Or so, maybe my siblings can help me out on the exact dates here!) He taught my oldest siblings how and as each one graduated, the next oldest stepped up. I am very privileged among my brothers and sisters to say that I had the chance to milk cows with my dad. I was the youngest and milking was a two-person job. So, from 1996-1998 (the year I graduated high school), it was the two of us working together before and after school.
So, I guess, the barn on our farm was really just an extension of our home. It wasn’t that my dad didn’t work, he just worked from home. In the last month, my parents have moved off the farm and are beginning a transition to retiring. (Remember the caption under my dad’s photo saying he was hard-working….yeah, he still drives to the farm a few times each day and logs about 8 hours). He is 70 and it is time to pass the torch on to my brother.
I wish all of you safe travels as you go “home” for Christmas. Remember that nobody’s family is normal! Mine included. And lastly, may Santa bring you a banana-seat bicycle.