My parents are Janie and Stu and they are wonderful. They are all that I could have hoped for as far as parents go. I think that maybe to have a feel for them, it may be best to talk about them separately.
My momjohns is spunky to say the least. She's the "cute mom." About 5'7" with red hair and brown eyes. She is in constant struggle with her body image, convinced that she is fat, when in all actuality, she looks great. Especially after 5 kids. She always has fun outfits and purses, with jewelry that makes me jealous, even with the ridiculous wedding ring I wear. She stayed home with us when we were little, played with us, distracted us from boredom. and demanded that we "go outside and play." We never wanted for anything, my parents made sure of that. We had a pool in the backyard, a four-wheeler (until Maggie had her wreck, but that's a story for another day), dogs, cats, and Girls Just Want to Have Fun on VHS. What more could a kid ask for? The best times were the summer. We would wake up and swim until lunch. Mom would bring out bologna and cheese sandwiches, chips and Kool-Aid, man oh man it was awesome! We used to annoy her by diving off of the support poles of the deck and racing around the edge of the pool. We also used to take her rubber gloves that she wore when she stained furniture and put them in front of the water return from the filter. The gloves would get bigger than a five gallon bucket, with one of the fingers swelling to the size of your arm. We would tie them off and float them around and pretend they were manatees. I can't tell ya how many gloves we ruined, but mom never cared. As long as we kept our rooms clean, she generally let us do what we wanted to entertain ourselves.
Mom has always loved antiques, primitives, and all manners of junk and rif-raf. She generally kept a shop, which she ran out of a fixed up section of Dad's machine shed. She called it Kinfolk. She would go to auctions and little shops and bring home truck loads of crap which we would paint and sand and stain and watco to make fantastic. We would stage her shop and do shows at Bloomington Third Sunday Market. It was so much fun and instilled a passion in each of us girls for unloved furniture and anything that sparkles. When Aubrie Grace came along Mom was getting tired of all that running a small business entails and stopped Kinfolk in leu of babysitting the newest addition to our family. Now she gets her kicks redecorating for us girls with every season and keeping her house as glittery and fantastic as ever.
My dad, while not in love with antiques, put in his fair share of time fixing up furniture for my Mom. He is a handsome man, 5'11" and 260lbs. It would seem like with a weight like that, he's be rockin a pot belly, but he doesn't. He is very solid and sturdy. With dad around you never have to worry. He is the antithesis of a hick farmer, well, except for his southern drawl. He has a couple phrases he doles out like candy, but I never really tire of them.. My favorite is "Sis, smart is all in where you are and what you're doin." Turns out, he was right. I couldn't do half of what he does. He's forgotten more about working the land, taking care of animals, fixing equipment/trucks/cars, plumbing, and electrical work then I will ever know.
Growing up I always wanted to be with Dad. While I do love him dearly and I liked the feeling of accomplishment I got at the end of the day, it was really more because I felt like he should have the help and I just knew that it was the best way to take care of him. If you've read my previous blogs you already know that I am the largest of 3 girls and growing up on a farm, that made me the most useful, the physically most able, of the three of us. What you may not know is that I had 2 brothers, Danny and Doug. They died 17 days after they were born. Twins run in our family, and they happened to be conjoined twins that shared a heart. Because Danny and Doug weren't there to be Dad's go to helpers, I felt like I should be. My sisters still give me crap for hanging out with the boys, but I like it. I like that I know how to finish drywall and I can fix a pipe that breaks at my trailer. Plus, its another way that I can take care of my family and I always felt like if the boys were up there watching, it would make them happy and they could maybe live a little vicariously through me. I've never heard Dad talk about Danny and Doug, but he always made it a point to make sure the cousins and our boyfriends knew they had a place on the farm and to teach them all manner of man-things that he would have handed down to the brothers.
Just by looking at my Dad you would never expect him to have the heart he does. He never hesitates to do good for other, or lend a hand even when it's not convenient for him. For example, the two super old brothers that live just down the road from us never have to worry about having enough firewood in the winter. Dad takes it to them by the truck load. They pay us back in blackberries they pick from out pasture land in the summer. Gleason always rolls up in his worn out bibs (without a shirt on underneath) with a hat all helter-skelter on his balding head and smiles his toothless grin as he gives Mom ice cream buckets full of potential cobblers. He just thinks Dad is the bee's knees.
Dad also loves my Mom, and I really believe its more every year. He takes her on dates and writes her love notes. They keep them all in a little glass jar by Dad's change basket. He always made sure that we knew Mom came first. Often times I would get a steely eyed glare and stern poke in the chest coupled with a "She is your mother, and if she's not happy, I'm not happy.....etc." I would set my resolve, make sure my sternum hadn't caved in, and stare back at him till the lecture was over. Then I'd go to my room, pout, and hate to admit to myself, or my parents, that they were right.
Of us three girls, it's always been agreed upon that I was the "worst child" and Maggie was the best. Turns out, I just got caught being bad when other's had gotten away with it. I was never arrested or anything like that, but was often the instigator of trouble around the house. I was only occasionally grounded, but definitely lectured often. My parents have never said I was the worst, they always treated us equally (with the exception of letting Maggie skip a ridiculous amount of high school). They hug and kiss us every time we see each other. Phone conversations are always ended with a "love you." They give us presents at random and we get free steak and hamburger from Dad. My Mom and Dad are great! I always figure If Zac and I can love each other half as much as my parents do, endure half as much as they have, and work half as hard as they do, we will always be alright. Love you Mom and Dad, you've been great examples.