December 20, 2008

Childhood Memories

This post is dedicated to my parents, whose faith and work ethic profoundly influenced who I am today. My dad was a dairy farmer in northern Illinois; my mom, a gifted homemaker. I grew up surrounded by acres and acres of cornfields, hills, gardens, a forest of trees, pets, and yes, dairy cattle. It was an idyllic childhood, created by God and the two people who gave me life. My older sister and I played for hours on end together, taking for granted our provision and protection. For those early years, I hadn't a care in the world. Oh, I had discipline and structure, chores and responsibilities.... but only what was age appropriate. I was given the freedom to be a child; this was part of the protection my parents gave me.
My dad worked very hard, quite literally, from sunrise to sundown, every day. We didn't take vacations; we didn't eat out at restaurants; we didn't buy lots of anything. We didn't need these luxuries. In reality, our greatest luxury was the daily enjoyment of the beauty that surrounded us, and the security and simplicity of our life.
When I was six, I started my formal education in a one-room school house. My beloved dog and I walked the quarter mile together, and she would return for me at the end of the school day. By third grade, this school was closed (and much later became someone's home). From this year on, I rode the bus to school in a small town nearby. And still, our border collie, Daisy, would faithfully meet me when the bus dropped me off at our mailbox a quarter mile from our home. My mother never failed to be at home when I arrived; all through high school, she was there every day, creating the atmosphere I so took for granted.
I am smiling, because I have a heart full of gratitude for the memories, the foundation my parents sacrificed to give my sister and me... memories that all fade together now, into the one warm and happy blur that was my childhood.