Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Moving perspective

My mother was a busy woman.
While visiting my mother, I found a piece of paper on which my mother had hand-written some lists of various events in her adult life. She had lists of addresses where she had lived, places she had worked, etc. There were details that I wasn't familiar with like house numbers, but basically none of it was new information--meaning I had heard about these things before. However, I thought I should record the details in a more permanent way, so I typed them up and promptly emailed them to my sisters.

And a funny thing happened while typing up these lists.  My mother's life came alive to me in a whole new way.  Various things that I had heard of separately here and there, got combined into a big picture. Here's a sample:

1950   Graduated nursing school
1950   Married
1950   Moved, P'burg,12th St.
1951   Moved, P'burg, Walnut St.
1951-53 Husband away in Army
1951-53 Moved, P'burg, 18th St.
1951   Daughter #1 born
1953-56 Moved to E'burg, Mill St.
1953   Sister died
1953   Grandfather died
1954   Daughter #2 born
1956-57  Moved to M'town, Church St.
1957-60  Moved to Penn'burg, Eisenhower Ave.
1957   Daughter #3 born
1960   Moved to Tann'town, Hart St.
1960   Moved in Tann'town, Hart St. in different house
1961   Daughter # 4 born

So in case you didn't study the list, let me summarize it for you. In a little over ten years, my mother moved 8 times in 5 different towns, had 4 kids, and lost two very important people in her life. Also, her husband was gone during the Korean War for two years.

That got me thinking about the current move I'm involved in. I'm not doing it with colicky babies, a husband in the Army, or on a shoestring budget. I'm doing it with my spouse at home, grown children, and good resources. So that perspective should help me calm down a little about the current move I'm involved in. Right?

You'd think so, but I'm still going crazy here with moving details. However, it did give me more respect and admiration for the remarkable woman who is my mother.


  1. Lovely thing to share. I moved 5 times in 4 years with just 2 babies and felt a little overwhelmed at times. I can't imagine how your mom did it.

    1. I know this isn't a contest, but 5 times in 4 years with two babies scores you a lot of points. We moved when Wally was 6 weeks old and that was just about more than I could handle. Was there a specific reason you had so many moves in just a short amount of time?

  2. I hope you had a good weekend with your mom.

    She had a lot on her plate in those 10 years! But I think all moves are challenging--your challenges are different--you've recently dealt with a health issue with your husband and are trying to deal with your mother's declining health long-distance. Plus, I'm betting you have a lot more items accumulated that you have had to sort through and either find a way to dispose of or to pack than your mom did--when you know you will be moving frequently, you tend to be more of a minimalist with "stuff". So cut yourself a little slack. :)

    1. Thanks for the pep talk. It's interesting that after my father's company moved him around every year or two, they did not move after that last move in 1960. His move there was only supposed to last 2 years, but he retired from that spot. I spent last weekend trying to sort through some of the stuff they accumulated in their house over the last 55 years. Talk about two Depression Era people being in one house for a very long time and you've got a lot of stuff.

  3. Wow! That's a pretty overwhelming list - I can't even imagine dealing with all that in the span of just 10 years. And I just love that photo - is that you as a baby?

    Anyhow, I agree with Kris. Your issues may be different than your mother's were, but they're no less real, and IMHO you've had way more than your fair share on your plate recently. But as stressful as it is, you obviously come from good, resilient stock, so I'm sure you'll come through it all with flying colors. ;-)

    1. The picture is actually of my sister and I just recently found it. I like it too.

      I agree. There's been a lot on my plate recently. We were just barely catching our breath from Ward's illness and all of this started. However, I think it was Ward's illness that was the motivation for him to take action sooner rather than later.

  4. I read your post yesterday, but didn't have time to comment. I just wanted to say that it inspired me to make some sort of record, like this, for my own kids. I sometimes assume that they know something about my life, only to find out they had no clue. So, on the to-do list for some day, some time, I'll be making a brief record of our family life. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Also, I've been meaning to ask, how is Ward doing? A lot happening in such a short time span in your life. I hope you're taking a few moments just to relax, here and there.

    1. Ward is doing well. Surgery recovery is going as expected and first follow up test looks like the surgery took care of things. More tests to follow, but so far so good.

  5. Wow! What a list! That said, comparing our lives to others' experiences can't necessarily alter our personal feelings/experiences... I've tried so many times to calm myself down by thinking about people living on the streets or having harder times than me but it never works. We're all equal, we're all doing our best, we're all worthwhile in countless different ways somehow, someway... It's good to appreciate your mom, it's also good to appreciate yourself and all the challenges and changes you tackle in your own "list." <3 It's okay to be rattled, doesn't matter what does the rattling just that you keep on keepin' on! :o)

    1. I have never had great success telling myself that I'm not as bad off as someone else, so it's okay. I still feel the stress. I sometimes start to think about what I've been dealing with for a few years now and I stop. It's still too much to think about. So I just keep on keepin'on. :)

      I was surprised when I wrote up the list because I had never thought about how hard it must have been for my mother as a young wife.

  6. Yikes, your mom was made of steel! Those were 10 busy years. I don't think moving was as complicated. Especially if your parents didn't own all those places or buy the new place, which complicates the process immensely. I don't think moving was so bad then either, probably without the massive numbers of fees and applications that is now common.

    1. You're right. Parts of it were not as complicated. However, I didn't mention how fussy we all were as babies. I cried so much that I ruptured a tear duct and my navel.

      My mother had to move a lot as a girl. She lived wherever someone would let her and her mother stay. So she was used to moving around, but that had a whole other set of issues to go with it.

  7. I am 70, just a bit younger than your mother. But, I did lots of hard things without help from a husband present. Nowadays, the young mothers cannot grocery shop with two children. They have to have someone along to help or someone to leave at home with the children. A friend in her 30s said she called people over to watch her baby while she showered. I told her to take the baby in the bathroom in her car seat and she could peak out to see if the baby were okay. She was astounded and had never thought of that. Young mothers today just don't seem to do anything without major help!

    Your mother and mine had a harder time and less help.

    1. My father also worked a lot of long hours because they needed the money so my mother was often around with out any help. And I think I mentioned were not easy children--always crying, very active, etc. I had two very active kids, and I know it wasn't easy doing anything with them, but you do what you gotta do.

      It's good that you're around some of the young mothers to give them practical suggestions on how to handle things. Sounds like they need it.


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