When I was twenty something I was so smart! I knew everything. I was up on all social and political issues I thought. I was going to change the world! Well I am now in my fifty’s and the reality is I did not know a damn thing.
When I was twenty something I could call my Mom and she would help me if I needed help.
When I was twenty something I took risks in all areas of my life. I was a terror of facts and what a goal setter. None of this is bad. It is just Naïve thinking that makes us think we know things we do not. Life changes when all of a sudden you have to stand on your two feet and you fall down!
It’s all in how we pick ourselves up! When I was in my twenty’s I attended school to be a teacher. I went into this field and within nine years because I knew everything, I burned out! So I took my experience to Well Fair reform. Educating the parents of the children once taught how to go get a job to be self-sufficient.
In my twenties I still had passion and believed in everyone. I still try today to hold to some of that naïve thinking when I am working with a client on a project. If you can see it you can achieve it. I hold to this because for the most part it never failed me. I have failed me! Owning my own failings have helped me see I can overcome my own errors.
I think this philosophy I hold has been passed down to only one of three children. One really took it and two did not. the one that has this attitude is a trail blazer and is willing to reinvent her road just like me. The other two tend to question things and then talk themselves out of what they want. I wonder where I got this attitude from? I have traced it back to my husband Bryan and a neighbor women who was more like a mother to me in my twenties.
Betty was the nosey neighbor who came to see who was cleaning up the worst house in town. Sally Slegar and Betty Garrett showed up with chocolate chip cookies and forever changed my life. Both were retired and wanting to revitalize our town. They could not wait to share with me about the Better Community Group that they were forming. Of course they wanted me involved. I am sure that I was rolling my eyes at the idea of me being involved in a community group!
Betty had been a Ranchers wife and after her husband passed she went back to school and got her degree to teach school. Betty never had children but she had Fostered when she was young on the ranch. She spoke of her experience and told me that it was a way to give back to children who did not have a family to take care of them. Because of Betty my husband and I later fostered. When Betty met me I was just staying home and we were living on a very tight budget. She told me that I needed to be the best wife by making sure I had a meal on the table for Bryan and our daughter every night and to make sure to keep the home and garden. I remember thinking how “old-fashioned” she was. Then I visited her at her home. WOW!
Wow is the only way I can still today describe this home. She had asked me to assist in serving for a tea she was hosting at her home for the ladies auxiliary. I had never seen dishes nor a table set the way she set her table. It was life changing. the fine dishes, linen napkins, fresh flowers. The silver set that she had me pour the tea from was heavy. The smell of scones and fruit salad. I had never seen blueberries or strawberries in February with water melon. She had it shipped in special for her event. Today all these fruits are available year round but not in 1985 in Nebraska. I remember asking her why did she not make another salad and she said that “You should always show your guests they are worthy by going above and beyond!” This has stayed with me all of my life.
In my twenties I really did not see myself making friends with a women in her seventies. When I married my husband I remember thinking my mother in law and father in law seemed so old. I am just a little bit older today then my mother in law was back in 1984.
When I was in my twenties God sent me a gift in these women who got to be part of my life experience. Betty challenged me and made me feel like being a stay at home mother was important. She made me see that I needed to think outside myself. To put my husband and daughter first. To care about my yard and my home. to put my best forward. She taught me to look to the future and that I could do what ever I wanted to do.
Betty got sick! I loved Betty so much. I remember praying that if she passed away that God would let me know. Betty had been moved to a nursing home after being diagnosed with liver cancer. She was so upset and had told me I do not want to die of cancer. The night she passed I set up in bed and woke my husband. I told him Betty was gone. Bryan comforted me and told me to go back to sleep. I remember looking at the clock it was 11:20 PM. At mid night Frank her nephew called me to let me know that she had passed away at 11:20 PM.
I know that God is huge and when we love one another we get human experiences that are unexplainable. It is pure grace. Betty loved me so much and I loved her I think it was Betty letting me know that she was gone.
I feel her love when I am stressed about something and start doubting myself. I here that voice saying “YOU can do this!” We all need cheerleaders in our lives and we need to recognize them.
Our daughters have had the pleasure of attending school in a farm community where God has placed Julie Black in our lives. Julie worked very hard with our middle daughter to challenge her to fill out applications for scholarships. Julie has been a voice with both our middle and youngest daughters. She does not agree with them just because they would like her too. She will give them solid advice. At times I think the girls have not appreciated her.
Just like Betty, who in my twenties was, glad to tell me that I was wrong. She challenges our youngest who has high anxiety. She gets her to see that she can! She has celebrated each of their victories. She has expressed concern when it was necessary. Julie is a life changing woman who I am so glad God placed in our children’s lives. A true cheerleader.
In my fifties I would love to tell Betty today how much she influenced m. I am so thankful that she was part of my life experience. I wish I could show her how I set our table for guests, What type of wife and mother I grew into. Take time to be old-fashioned. Write a note of thanks when you can. show others they matter because they do!