I often feel I grew up with Laura Ingalls.
From the age of four, my parents read the Little House books aloud to us at least once a year. By the time I was ten, I read them on my own. When other little girls wished for Barbie, I hoped to receive Charlotte for Christmas.
There was so much about Laura I could relate to…her family moved, a lot. They didn’t have a lot of money — but never lacked for something interesting to do. Her parents were loving but strict. She struggled with feeling “less” than her sister Mary — and what child hasn’t felt the pangs of sibling envy? From a young age, she had many responsibilities — to care for her siblings, to work, to help the family.
Fast-forward several years. I’m now in my late twenties. I have four amazing little children of my own, and over the past few months I have been reading the Little House books aloud to the older two. (It speaks to the power of the stories that they hold the attention of my six and four year old boys!) As I read to them, I expected to enjoy a familiar story, the story of Laura.
Instead, I found myself engaged in a whole new way. Because now, as I read, it isn’t Laura who speaks most strongly to me.
Ma Ingalls is resourceful, frugal, creative. She’s brave enough to punch a bear or stay alone with three little girls while her husband travels 300 miles on foot to find work. No matter how desperate things get, she holds onto faith that it will all work out. When living in a dugout, she sweeps the floor and spreads a pretty tablecloth. Somehow, she stays sane through winters of being snowed-in a one room house with four children.
Again, I find myself relating strongly.
Life is hard right now, for so many of us. Times are uncertain; from the economy to environment, there is so much looming over us. This blog is about learning, doing, and most importantly – growing. The world is scary; but it becomes less scary when you learn to focus on what CAN be done.
So I ask myself…what would Ma do?