An old fashioned notion

As a stay-at-home mom, and home pre-schooler, I often like to ask my daughter questions to find out what she has observed about the world. In my post with all of the funny things Leah has said I mentioned that she announced to me one day that “Daddy pees standing up!” He has been much more careful about locking doors since then. I was curious, however, to see if she noticed any other differences in gender. I asked her the other night what the difference between boys and girls is. She shrugged.

I asked, “Well, what makes boys different from girls.”

Leah, looking bored, responded, “I don’t know. Girls are just girls.”

Giving it one last attempt I tried, “Okay, but do boys do anything different from girls?”

All of a sudden Leah’s face lit up and I could see a light bulb go off in her head, “Yes!” She exclaimed. “Boys go to work!”

I nearly died laughing. If the year were 1950 she would be absolutely right. It has been her experience, though, that this is true. I stay home with her and Daddy goes to work to “make the monies”. She stays with her one Grandma while I go to school and she knows that Grandpa is at work. She also hears that her “Papa” is at work all the time when we are at my mom’s.

It’s an old fashioned notion that the men go to work while the women stay home, but it’s one that I have always liked. I think I struggle with going to school and deciding what I want to do, because what I truly want to do is stay at home and raise my children, keep a clean home, cook, bake, do the laundry and the marketing. Heck, I even sew!

As she grows I will tell my daughter that she can do or be whatever she wants to be. But I will also teach her that choosing to take on a traditional gender role is admirable and if she wants to stay home and take care of a family, that is okay. As women, we are now expected to go to college, have a career, and bring in another income. That is all well and good if that’s what you want. But to be honest, I don’t want it. I resent how difficult it is to be able to stay at home in this era. I hope that my daughter will have the choice to do whatever she wants, whether she wants to be the first woman president, or a homemaker. Both jobs could be equally rewarding!

What makes a house a home

 

As many of you may know, we recently purchased and moved into our first home. Prior to that, we lived in a small in-law apartment attached to my grandma’s house. We had lived there from the time I was about eight months pregnant with Leah.

 

Sometime around when Leah turned two the apartment began to feel a bit cramped. The toddler toys were taking over the space, things needed updating, but we never wanted to move the already squeezed in furniture to do it, and it was hard having visitors and friends come through the garage and walk all the way around the pool to visit. We began saving up and talking about moving, and that become a goal that we focused on. When Dave started a new job and began to make some good money, the timing seemed perfect.

 

Everything happened so quickly. We saw the house once and fell in love. I knew I had to tell my grandma, and I spent some time stressing over the conversation, but when I finally did tell her she seemed fine with it. She said that she knew we couldn’t stay forever and that she figured it would be soon. After all the excitement and planning that built up until moving day, I cried a bit as I drove my car full of boxes in the caravan that made up our moving party.

 

The summer was busy. We visited my grandma several times, used the pool, and went to family parties at the house. Seeing the apartment so bare has been bitter-sweet. It looks so much bigger without all of our things. As winter draws near I recall how cozy and homey the apartment felt.

 

A few days ago I stopped by to visit and pick up a package and as soon as I walked in my grandma said to me, “Can’t you just sell your house and move back in? I miss you.” I know she was teasing me about the selling our house part, but it broke my heart a little.  It wasn’t until that moment when I realized how much I miss her, too. Without her help and that apartment, my little family would not be thriving the way it is now. We would never have even been able to afford our home if the rent wasn’t so cheap there.

 

Up until now, my grandma has been present for every milestone in Leah’s life. She was there when I came in the door for the first time with my daughter in my arms. She was there all of the nights Leah cried herself to sleep while we got her to sleep in her own crib. She was there the day Leah took her first steps, her first swim, and the first time she helped me to bake in our cozy little kitchen. I began to think of all the other wonderful ways my family grew stronger in that apartment.

 

I made my first Christmas dinner there. I sat at the kitchen table and sewed clothes for my daughter. I spent hours in the kitchen cooking and talking with my best friend. I planned our wedding from that apartment. How could something that was so comfortable have gotten so uncomfortable?

 

We ran out of space physically, but the apartment will always be the home of so many wonderful memories. Sometimes I find myself halfway there when I am driving home and it makes me sad. But I know that a part of me will always think of that as home for two reasons. The first reason is that is where my family got its start, and family truly is what makes a house a home. The second reason is that is where my grandma is, and she is part of who I am and part of what home is for me. In the time I lived there we forged a close bond that can never be broken by living a few miles away.

Thank you, Grandma. Without you, and without the roof over our heads and the walls that held us all together I don’t know where I would be now. I love you to pieces and just know that while I don’t live on the other side of your walls, I also don’t live too far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where have I gone right?

 

It is easy to teach a child their ABC’s, their colors, and their numbers. It’s not too hard to potty train, to teach them to keep their hands to themselves, to always say please and thank-you. But how do you teach a child compassion or remorse?

 

I don’t know the answer to that question, and yet somehow my daughter possesses both of those admirable qualities. If Leah gets in trouble for something, she gets truly sad. It is rare for her to ever get mad about being disciplined, but even if anger is her initial reaction she is able to calm down and feel badly about whatever is was that she did to land herself in trouble. She always says that she is sorry, I don’t even have to tell her to say it. And she means it. I can see it in her beautiful hazel eyes and I can hear the remorse in her voice. Along with her apology, she always gives a kiss and a hug, and often is very affectionate for the remainder of the day. Even for small things, or things that she is not really in trouble for, my daughter says she is sorry, and she does so quite stoically. She might simply knock something over, and she immediately picks it back up and says “I’m so sorry, mommy!”

 

Some times I feel bad that she is always sorry and I wonder if I have been too strict in the past. But when I think about it, there is nothing wrong with an apology. Whether an action was on purpose or not doesn’t really matter and my child will never be the kind of person who is stubborn or adds insult to injury by saying “But I didn’t mean it!”

 

Leah is also a very compassionate little girl. If someone is sad, she is quick to comfort them. She has, on occasion, seen me upset over something and she will put her arm around me and say “Don’t be sad, mommy.”

How did I get so lucky? These two concepts are something I had not even begun to think of teaching her, and yet she gets it. She is so in tune with the people around her and is sensitive to the feelings of others. I don’t know how my daughter came to be this way, but I can say that I am truly blessed and incredibly proud. She is turning out to be such an amazing little person.