In her strongest moments, my mom would say of herself, "I was born before my time."
I can picture her little body, all rigid with attitude... she was making a point: she didn't need a man. My father always knew if he didn't WANT to be there with her, with us, "there's the door." "But if you leave, don't think you are ever comin' back, Fred." My dad never left.
Oh, there was no arguing, that woman was tough. Fortified. Independent. The way a strong woman needs to be in this day. If dad complained about his coffee, she'd say, "then get your own." If he complained about the chili being too bland, she'd say, "then next time YOU make dinner." Funny thing was, by the time dad retired, he was the chef cooking for mom. She was convincing like that.
Even while my father was ill in the hospital for seven straight months, trekking to see him every day without fail, my mom acted strong, able to get along just fine alone. Granted, Evelyn loved Fred, they were married 64 years; and she missed my father terribly when he was gone. But I do agree, my mom was born before her time -- the way a woman is raised to be THESE days: she loved herself and needed no man to make her someone better. Being married to my dad was a choice they made together every day.
You see, as progressive as my mom really was in her thinking and personality traits, she still was raised in a time where couples endured. Couples may have fought just as much as they do now, but they were together more resilient or stubborn, dedicated in some way, beyond general couples of today. My parents took care of each other. They did simple, loving, predictable things and made our household a home, our family a home base.
Mom taught me what I have recently learned is called "homesteading"; planting a garden, living simply, loving our neighbors. I think maybe the term is more acceptable to this current generation if it seems to be a new found technique. In any case, mom modeled such technique to me, and it was mainstream. All the families on my street seemed to do the same. We ate dinner at 5:10 p.m. every week day evening. Mom packed us
lunches, dad included, after making toast and coffee for breakfast. Her chocolate chip cookies were divine, buttery, perfect. Of course it went beyond that, but you get the idea, the picture of stability.
When my daughters were younger, I would pack them lunches, too. Not as consistently as my mom, just because she was better at everything, but I did... and I cooked, too. Even when the girls were bigger, and we all led such busier lives going in different directions, I made dinner, complete with salad, fruit, dessert, and "how was your day conversation." I managed that routine on top of commuting and working a full time job, and running the training miles of a marathoner. And I baked cookies, from "scratch" no less.
Those years of being a mom and wife were the best years of my adult life. I miss that caring and consistency with a heaviness on my chest I physically feel, even now as I recall the warmth of the table and the laughter.
My realization over this winter: I, too, was born of the wrong time. I was born too late. I should have been here back in the day when it was an honor to care for my husband, to cook healthy meals for my family, to clean my home and make it comfy and warm, to plant vegetables by seed and grow flowers in beds along the fence.
Because that is what I want now.
Before all of my strong women friends begin their rants against me, and the supposed power I am holding disappears, know that I like my life just fine. I love myself. I don't need any man to make me a better person.
I love my career at CSU and love that I earn enough money to own a home and a car and support myself. I don't want to give that control away, to some "man of the house," or be subservient to some husband (who currently doesn't exist). But I do want that old fashioned having someone to come home to, to cook for, to talk with, to love -- that "mutual caring for each other thing" -- back in my life. It is good to know I CAN do this life on my own. I have proven it. I just don't want to do this, to have this, alone.
There is no weakness in this wanting. It is not out of desperation, it is not from some place of neediness. It is actually from a giving place in my heart. Now that my daughters are grown, they require less of me. Letting them fly is healthy!
Sadly, at this prime moment of my life-- when busyness has turned suddenly slower -- there is no man for me who wants the same thing.
Being single is what both men and women seem to want these days. Sex is so easy to get anymore, hardly anyone requires a relationship for it. Freedom to work 12, 14, 16 hours a day to earn money he will possibly never spend seems to be the partner so many seek. Fast food is, well, FAST, who needs to waste time eating a home cooked meal that has to be, well, COOKED. Maybe mom is still around to provide a meal once a month, on a Sunday, or a birthday.. but really, why, when there is a new restaurant open down the street by that chef from the Food Network? Christmas can be saved for the lavish meal.
You see, traditionalism has no reason to exist anymore. We are each revolving around our own selves, a complicated simplicity so time consuming there is no give.
And who wants permanent emotions anyhow. That would mean investing in someone aside from ourselves. I have been told at least four times since October, "work is all I have going right now, I don't have time for a relationship." Or the best one ever, "I don't have the time to give you that you require." As if spending real moments with me is aiding some sort of unhealthy, unnatural need of mine (you know, that crazy woman who wanted more than a few hours a week with her boyfriend). Bring him a banana bread and he's done. Out. Somehow baking suggests permanency in and of itself.
Think what you want to think about me. Because I love to send cards in the mail to say thank you for being kind, or that I appreciate you, doesn't mean I am needy -- just grateful. And because I offer to make you dinner on Sunday, doesn't mean anything beyond me believing you need a good meal for a change.
So, maybe I too was born of the wrong time, like my mom. She would have been a terribly powerful single woman in her day.... and, I, an excellent wife back in her's.
And if that isn't true, then my only other explanation is that I have missed my time, the time God gave me my Homestead, and I carelessly lost it. I let it go when I had it. And though I have been told that God is not a punishing God, maybe this is what I get for letting it go.
Today I baked an apple pie for no one.
Not even because I wanted a piece of pie. It's sitting there now, in the kitchen. I had apples that needed to be used. And I wanted to feel, like me, again.
How The Cows Were Cool
4 years ago