By Rosie Preston
December is a time in which many of us reflect on the past year and perhaps compare the positive days to the negative ones. My first thought always goes to my immediate family members, which is a small group of me, my best friend and life partner Phil and my 16-year old granddaughter Breanna. Breanna has a bedroom both at our home and at her dad’s house, so she travels between us and brings us much joy!
During the past year, we’ve experienced what I call The Good Life. Beautiful babies were born into our family. I cannot explain the joy we feel with the birth of an innocent child. The other day I asked Phil, “Why do babies make us so happy?” I quickly added (without thinking), “And diamonds, because they make me happy just to look at them!”
Of course, babies and diamonds cannot really be compared, as babies will grow up and diamonds will remain their present state. I once I asked a man who owns a jewelry store if all women were like me. “Yes,” he responded. “And that’s a good thing!” So, selling diamonds provides him a plus in having The Good Life.
Babies seem to sparkle, and their smiles do shine! The young life of a child is so important in order to provide them with a good start. Ages one through five are called a child’s formative years, a time where a baby will hopefully have a parent who understands the importance of bonding, which can last a lifetime.
This past year has been yet another year when I find myself still retired and not working in the outside world. I often wish I could be paid for the work a woman is responsible for when providing for a family and having a home to take care of. If we had to pay someone to come in and do the “lady of the house’s work,” I read where it would cost thousands of dollars each week. So, even though it sounds good, my spending is limited to living on what comes in and pinching pennies in every turn in order to save money. But in all reality, I wouldn’t trade having the babies and children come to visit for a million dollars!
My mother had a part in teaching me this, even though neither of us realized it. While she stood and made homemade meals at least twice a day, I learned the way she cooked delicious meals while living on my daddy’s salary, which he brought home each Friday after laying bricks all week. I remember days where he could barely walk into the house. The days where he had to lay block foundations were the hardest on him. He would often give me or one of my sisters a dollar just to untie his shoes and take them off while he sat for a few minutes before heading to the shower.
My mother saved leftovers for me and my sisters, but my dad would not eat leftovers, so she had to be very creative. She cooked a meat and vegetables every day along with homemade biscuits or cornbread. We always had sweet tea at dinner, and because I insisted on it, sliced lemons!
My mother cooked a pot roast like nobody’s business, and her chicken and dumplings melted in your mouth! I learned from her that meat went further if you add more vegetables and potatoes. It never failed that we were provided a well-balanced dinner, and if my mother made dessert, it would often be a cobbler pie, a chocolate cake or my favorite, cherry pie!
My family can agree that we have been blessed to have experienced The Good Life this past year. We can look around and realize the hardships that other folks are facing. So many people around the world are experiencing hunger, drought, war or not having a family who loves them.
I will never forget the words that Dolly Parton once said. She told of the lack of money her family had as she was growing up. Dolly had many siblings, but she said for what the family lacked in prosperity they made up for in love! Her first song was about a coat she wore made of scraps from dresses her mother had cut up called “The Coat of Many Colors.”
I realize that The Good Life is not present each day. We all have accepted challenges and endured heartbreak, but most of us continue to walk forward and accept that which we cannot change. Not a day goes by that I don’t say The Serenity Prayer, which speaks of the courage to change the things we can, to accept the things we cannot and the wisdom to know the difference.
The Good Life means many different things to many different people. I pray that you will look around you, find it in your life and share it with the ones you love!
Keep smiling, Rosie
Contact Rosie Preston at firstname.lastname@example.org.