During our last trip to the library all three girls gravitated to the pull-apart sofa chairs in the Young Adult section. So while they couldn't decide whether or not they wanted to be on them or off them, I gazed nostalgically at the titles I loved just a decade and a half ago. (When I put it that way, I don't feel quite as immature telling you this next part.) I came across "Little House on the Prairie" and two of my other "Little" favorites and checked them out.
Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867. She wrote her first published book when she was 65, and lived until 1957, after witnessing the success of her writing.
Over Christmas vacation I read one of her books- I think "Little House in the Big Woods"- and fell in love with them all over again. (I actually cried while reading Laura's thoughts on the founding of the United States.) Stuffed with Christmas food and chocolate, I felt so grateful and aware of what I take for granted, reading how, after missing it all winter, fresh fruit and meat were practically treated as delicacies. But what really draws me to her beautiful writing is between the experiences- the picture she illustrates of the love she and her family had for all good things and for each other. It's wholesomeness really resonates with me.
I just started re-reading "Prairie," and just can't believe that this woman is writing from actual experiences. They leave forever their extended family on the East coast simply because "Pa" likes it better where there aren't as many people. Sell their property, pack everything they own "except the beds and table and chairs... because Pa could always make new ones," into their wagon and head out. Just like that.
It sticks in my head all day as I'm sweeping the linoleum on my kitchen floor. Loading dishes into a dishwasher and walking away. Turning the TV off and cringing at how loudly Mia objects. Trying to keep up with piles and piles of laundry that I didn't have to sew or wash myself. But mostly, I just feel kind of grateful. I squish my babies and smooch their chubby cheeks and agree with Laura.
"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." -Laura Ingalls Wilder