I was scrolling on instagram (of course) thinking about “my stories”. These fading 15 second snippets into each others lives. Here today, gone tomorrow. They make you laugh, they make you cry, they make you want to buy something. But what about real stories, the ones from our past, the ones worth sharing?
So I decided to share some of my stories, the ones that have shaped me into the person I am today. I’m thinking of making it a regular theme if not just for myself to remember everything! I’m starting with a memory I shared in my latest instagram post.
When I was a kid, my parents would drop off us with my Grandparents for two weeks out of the summer. We thought it was the greatest thing, and now that I am a mom, I’m pretty sure my mom thought the same thing. My cool young Aunt Linda also lived with them and my Aunt Debbie was just down the dirt road. We spent our days riding our bikes to the Dairy Queen(the only place in Castroville at the time) for a Dilly bar, remember those? My Aunts (who were unmarried and no kids at the time) would put together fun crafts and games for us. I filled every glass bottle I could find in colorful layers of chalk-rubbed salt and could paper-maiche like a pro. Those were the days of hot summer nights, sleeping in Grandma’s spare room with the windows open, trying not to move so you didn’t break a sweat, with the crickets chirping so loudly you could barely fall asleep.
And every morning, Grandma would make her signature breakfast: biscuits with cream gravy and deer sausage, that she would make herself. That’s right, I used to help crank that sausage into the pig casings every year. We still make our own deer sausage with our family secret Alsatian spice mix. Of course, I’ve passed my cranking duties down to the next generation of kids.
Grandpa was always out of the house before we were awake, working the cattle, repairing fences or clearing brush. He didn’t say much, but when he did, you listened. It was always a special morning when you’d wake up and see him at the stove making his pancakes. He made a perfect pancake. Never burned or even browned. He would keep the stove down so low it would take forever to cook one. But there he would stand, quietly waiting in his pearl snap shirt and boots. We’d beg and beg, “are the pancakes ready yet??” but he’d never rush.
I was about 9 years old when I first drove a car. My Aunt Linda would let me sit on her lap and steer as she pushed the pedals. We’d drive up the dirt road, turn around in the pasture and then head back down. Another favorite was getting to play dress up in her clothes. My sister and I along with our Cousin Erin would get all dressed up and then model for a Polaroid. We’d take turns shaking that picture to get the image to appear faster. I have vivid memories of us dancing around her room and jumping on the bed to “Footloose” and we’d be sure to send our shoes flying across the room on the line “kick off your Sunday shoes”.
Modeling Aunt Linda’s clothes
I really got into character
There were no smart phones, no video games and we didn’t even have a TV to watch besides the fuzzy one in Grandma’s bedroom that she used to watch her soap operas every afternoon. We spent the whole day outside, exploring along the river or walking to the 7-eleven for a coke. It really was a simpler time, but not because of the year, but because of how we lived it.
We have a choice how to live our lives. We often long for “those simple days” and think they’re lost forever. But really, you can have the life you wish for. Put down the phone, turn off the TV and let yourself get bored for once. Go outside and enjoy God’s creation. Work hard at something that gives you the satisfaction of a job well done instead of paying someone else to do it. Stop filling up every minute of your day with activities and commitments. I catch myself sitting down and having a pause so I instantly pick up my phone and start scrolling instead of just being quiet with my own thoughts for a moment.
It can be hard. I’ve definitely had my moments here in Norway with absolutely nothing to do and feeling so bored and lonely I thought I might just crack but it’s also been a sweet time. Playing board games with my boys, baking bread from scratch, sitting down to do a watercolor just for the hell of it. At first I feel like I am getting nothing accomplished because I am not busy. I have to train my mind to change its way of thinking. Busy does not equal productive. And so I keep living, one day at a time and make new lasting stories with my children that will last longer than 24 hours and hopefully be remember for the rest of our lives.