All Work and No Play

Dear Diary,

When I was little, my mom used to read aloud to the family nearly every night after dinner from “The Little House on the Prairie” series. From “Little House in the Big Woods” all the way to “The First Four Years.” and on to the book about Laura’s daughter Rose. Those books had it all: humor, wit, wisdom, drama, famine, plague, sickness, health, love, death, family and faith. I think the best thing of all was that it was true and written by the little girl who lived it all. Over the years reading the books over and over again, I get different things out of them everytime. When I was little, I longed for the adventure of riding ponies over the prairie and sliding down mountains of hay in the sunshine. As a teenager, I critiqued and learned from Laura’s love life. And now, as a mother and wife, my attention turns more to Caroline Ingalls. Or “Ma” as she was better known in the books.The focus of the books is not her, but through Laura’s account of her, you can learn a great deal about Ma.  She had come from the city and in marrying Charles, (“Pa”) had submitted to him and followed him where he felt was best to go. The middle of nowhere. Brave woman. Living on the prairie, she didn’t have the corsets I’m sure her school friends who had stayed in the city had, to maintain her figure after having babies. It’s mentioned a few times that Pa had once been able to span her waist with his hands when they had married. I don’t care who you are corsets or not, that’s got to be impossible to maintain after babies 🙂 Her once soft white hands were now roughened a bit from work. Hard work. I wonder how many times she stole away for a few moments to have a good cry before standing up, straightening her skirt and getting back to work. Of course my work is not nearly so hard as hers, but I know every once in awhile I like to have a good cry for a few minutes when things get a bit crazy, before telling myself to buck up and get back to work.

One quote I remember well that both Pa and Ma said occasionally in the books, was “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Of course when I was little, I thought, “Who on earth has to MAKE time to play??” Ahhh…childhood innocense. Now I find I need to make time to “play.” Whether it’s sitting down to play with my kids, or going on “date night” with Tim,  or having a nerf gun war with the aforementioned gentleman 🙂 with my life as crazy as it is, sometimes I have to make the time. But I know how important it is to indulge in some form of escapism from time to time. A recent conversation with my mom and her mom lately really brought it home for me. Momo was saying how sometimes she just looks at Papaw and says, “I just want my babies back.” and my mom nodded in agreement. I shiver came over me and I teared up a bit at the idea of having those thoughts someday. I’m sure it’s inevitable, but I’d rather look back with tears knowing I played with them, was silly with them and treasured all those moments. Better to cry missing the good than to cry regretting what could have been.

Just my thoughts 🙂

Till Next Time,

Ashley

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