Growing up in Waterloo, Iowa was my world view. Early on I knew there was something drastically different going on in my house than in some of the other homes of my family and friends. It took me a while to get it.
While there were 11 of us kids, I promise you I heard my mom calling my name 20 hours out of the 24-hour day. After all, I am the middle child, and with that comes a lot of responsibility: peace maker, connector, looking for alliances on both ends, top and bottom, of the pecking order.
Confused… Yes, that was me. “Bob Ann, come here and find my… Wash the dishes, mop the floor. Did you find xyz? Run over to xxx and get xxx. Go to the store and get xxx. You better get your lesson out, get to church, and you better stand up straight while you usher this Sunday. Don’t forget your sister. Give your brother a bath. Go help Sis xxx, she’s not doing well…”
Really, could I get all of that done in my 20 hours? I can tell you this: It was in my best interest to try and get it done and to do it with a generous spirit, a smile, and some pep in my step. That’s what love is all about!
I loved working with my dad to pour a concrete driveway, get the tools he needed while making repairs, hunt with him to put food on the table, till the soil, plant the seeds, tend to the weeds, water the plants when rain didn’t come, and harvest the food. Daddy was there. He made us laugh, spoke with wisdom, taught us to drive, provided everything, and was “the” model of a good man.
My parents gave me love, life, and a complete set of values to guide me. They were clear and simple:
Put God first in all that you do.
Put family second — they are your strength.
Get a good education.
Work and give it your best.
Give back to your community.
I didn’t realize the values they instilled until sitting with my sisters on one of our annual get-togethers. As we talked and thought of our parents, we realized what had been sown into us with no written words but in the hearts, minds and spirits of Jane and Dub. After talking, we realized we too had sown into our children and grandchildren unconditional love and those exact values.
Today is another day, and I can do this over again in the many small ways I support my children, speak to and engage my grandchildren as I am open to them and them to me.
Yes! I want to do this over again today and tomorrow.
I hope you realize “every day is a do-over.” What do you recognize as a do-over?
Bob-e Simpson Epps has spent 40+ years leaning into life’s issues personally and professionally. She shares a revival of spirit, great hope and passion with others who have faced many of the same issues. She welcomes reader responses to [email protected], or visit her blog at http://msbobe.wordpress.com.