Monday Memories ~ Family Life

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

When I saw today’s prompt for ‘Monday Memories’, I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to write about.  ‘Family Life’ can be very different, depending on what phase of life you are in!  I ultimately decided to briefly write about my own experience with each phase of my family life, so far.

To be honest, my family life as a child wasn’t all that great for the first eleven years, or so.  Since both of my parents were alcoholics, life was unstable and down right tumultuous, at times.  On two separate occasions, between the ages of seven and nine, I lived with two different sets of relatives for extended periods of time.  Even after being reunited with my parents, we still managed to move five times within three years.  It was several years before I felt like I had any stability in my life.

me as a little tike

me as a little tike

My family life as a teen was much better.  My parents stopped drinking during those years, so life was pretty close to normal during that time.  Once in a while, a family crisis would arise, but, overall, I have good memories of my last six years at home.

I had an after-school job, during my last two years of high school, so I had my own spending money.  I was able to buy pretty much whatever I wanted.

I began dating early, and met my husband-to-be just four weeks shy of my fifteenth birthday. Ed asked me to be his wife just two weeks shy of my sixteenth birthday.  We got married three weeks after I graduated from high school.  I became Ed’s wife, and left home, two months before my eighteenth birthday.

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Bro. Wilton, Me, and Ed

Bro. Wilton, Me, and Ed

My newlywed phase of family life was wonderful!  Ed and I were so happy to finally be reunited, after being separated for most of our three year courtship!  Ed got a new job, we bought a mobile home, moved sixty miles away, to the city, and did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.

As I’ve written before, Ed and I basically had our courtship after marriage, since our time together before marriage was limited due, to his army enlistment.   We bought a new boat, owned two different motorcycles, and bought our first new car during the newlywed phase of our lives, which lasted approximately six years.

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The child-rearing phase of life lasted quite a few years longer.  Our children, a girl, and two boys, were spaced three years apart. Our first child was born in 1978, with the last one being born in 1985.  These years were some of the most rewarding years of our marriage, but, also, some of the busiest and most challenging!  Often, I think back, and wonder how we did it!  I was a stay-at-home for thirteen years, but when our youngest child started to school, I went back to work.

Easter 1988 on the way to church--in front of our house

Easter 1988 on the way to church–in front of our house

another yearly Easter photo...see how they grow!

another yearly Easter photo…see how they grow!

During most of our child-rearing years, Ed worked two jobs to provide extra income for extra things, like vacations and vehicles. By then, my parents were in poor health, shuffling between hospitals and nursing homes, so we had to see about their needs, in addition to those of our three children.  Between working, seeing about my parents, shuffling children to after-school activities, cooking meals, helping with homework, and keeping up with laundry/ housework, there was never a dull moment, at our house.  I remember being tired–a lot, but I was so blessed to have Ed, who always pulled more than his share of the load.

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How can I not laugh around them?

early grand-parenting days – our two oldest grandchildren, several years ago

The busy days of child-rearing eventually made way for the quieter days of an empty nest.  Both of my parents passed away before any of our children left home, and Ed’s daddy died shortly after our oldest child got married.  Ed and I became grandparents, for the first time, right before our last child left home.  That was just over eight years ago.

With the children all grown, I soon felt the urge to quit work and return to the good ole’ days of being a homemaker.  It seemed like I was always tired, and I wanted to be free to enjoy more of life.  I quit my job, and Ed gave up his second job, soon afterward.

The care-free days didn’t last too long.  With his mama getting on in years, Ed soon inherited the responsibility of taking care of her needs, as her health began to decline.  Once again, we entered the phase of life where the child sort of becomes the parent.

Ed’s mama eventually passed away, and now Ed and I are back to concentrating on just the two of us, like in the newlywed days.  We feel like we’ve come full circle, except now we are the patriarch and matriarch of our family, and we know our days are numbered. It’s a strange feeling to realize you’re now the oldest members of the family!

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Although Ed and I have lost all of our parents, we’ve gained another son, and two more daughters, through marriage. God has also blessed us with four beautiful grandchildren, within the last eight years!  Our family of five has grown to a family of twelve!  It’s a chore to get all of us seated around the kitchen table, these days, but it’s wonderful!  It feels sort of like an old episode of The Waltons, and I love it.

our family of twelve

our family of twelve

Ed and I are enjoying our empty nest, but we always look forward to frequent visits from our grown children and their families!  We take great pride in the adults our children have grown up to become, and we enjoy their company very much.

We’re also enjoying watching our children raise their own families, and understand why those children are called “grandchildren”!  All of our kids are wonderful parents, and we love seeing many of our old family traditions being passed down through them.  This phase of family life is almost as much fun as being newlyweds–but not quite!  Can we turn back the clock forty-two years, or so?

Ed and I still  have a couple of phases of family life left to experience–retirement and living alone.  We’re about to embark upon the first of those, but that’s a story for another day.  As for the ‘living alone’ phase, I hope it will be many more years before we get to phase, but we just never know.  I think we should all live each day as if it’s our last.

 

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Published in: on January 19, 2015 at 10:43 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love how you told your family-life story here!! Also love the photos you shared!! You are blessed, indeed!!

  2. I think your wonderful family life as an adult is your just reward for going through such a turbulent one as a child.

  3. You did a fantastic job with the topic.

  4. We had similar experiences as to when we met our spouses. I met Honey Bear when I was 14, he spent time at my house with my family whenever he was home from College. We didn’t start dating until I was 16. We weren’t exclusive until just before he graduated. Then we married when I was 3 months shy of 18. My first child was born 13 months later. I did not want to wait and I’m glad I didn’t. My first grandchild was born when I was in my early 40s.
    My Honey Bear “retired” from his career job in 2011 but he still works almost every day. He has a home healthcare job 3 mornings a week. He recently finished a consulting job that took him out of state once a week. We are finally getting to where we can travel some.
    I enjoy reading your blog.
    Mama Bear


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