Yep, you read that right. Mom raised seven children, one darling daughter (me) and six wonderful, rambunctious sons.
She also tenderly cared for a little son with multiple birth defects who died at seven months. And she had nine miscarriages.
I include that information so you know that life was not easy for Mom. She worked full-time for a number of years, was continually helping others, and took time to nourish and fortify her family.
Take morning time for example. Mom got up early, got ready for the day, and then woke us up to the strains of beautiful music. I still love that wonderful music from my childhood.
After family devotional everyone got ready and did their chores. While we were getting ready, Mom fixed breakfast. On weekdays that usually meant freshly ground cracked wheat mixed with honey, wheat germ, and anything else Mom could sneak in that she thought was good for us. She served the cereal with a pitcher of certified raw milk purchased from a local dairy.
And as if that wasn’t healthful enough, we each had a little plate with an assortment of fruit and vitamins. In addition to our cereal spoon, we had a (despised) “cod liver oil spoon” so we could have mint flavored cod liver oil with our meal.
I hate to say it, but we didn’t appreciate breakfast very much. We looked forward to weekends. Saturday we had whole wheat pancakes, french toast, or some other luxury. And Sundays were reserved for cold cereal, another family favorite.
But no matter what we ate, Mom had something special to share. I didn’t realize it then, but she put as much care into our spiritual, emotional, and intellectual nourishment as she did our physical well being.
Around the kitchen table we memorized countless poems, songs, and scriptures. We read many great biographies together. We listened to Mom read articles, editorials, and lessons. And when Mom reached something that touched her heart, as she often did, she would pass the book, magazine, or newspaper to one of us to read until she regained her composure and was able to continue.
Many years have passed. Times have changed. But I can’t help but think that America would be a much better place if more children were carefully nourished before they hurry off for the day.
Reflecting on Mom’s tender care has made me want to nourish and fortify my children better.
How about you? Do you have favorite family memories?
The start of a new school year is a great time to create or renew family traditions that can help fortify our children in these wonderful, yet troubled times.