I had a dream last night. It was of the Smollon Family. Growing up, Richie Smollon was my best friend and lived around the block from my house. We could get to each other’s house without walking all the way around the block and by ‘cutting through’ a neighbor’s back yard which led right into Richie’s back yard; and to the door at the back of their house. I honestly could count on one hand the amount of times I entered their house through the front door.
When you walked through that door, you could go straight to the basement or take a left and walk up a few steps right into the kitchen. Any time I went there, there was always a great smell as Mrs. Smollon almost always had something cooking. With 8 children, that wooden door with the glass panes would get much use throughout the day.
My friend Richie died at what I consider, a very young age. Too young, to say the least. But my dream bought him back for me as I was at their house, in the middle of all of that constant flurry and fun activity; and it really made me think of the following statement. “How did our parents get through with what they had?”
Even though this was a very middle-income neighborhood, how did our parents actually make ends meet? We would always go on vacation and the Smollons even had a second house in “Hemlock Farms”, Pennsylvania. I remember my mom once told me that after one vacation she had less than a dollar in her checking account. Absolutely amazes me how anyone had money for anything beside food, clothes, and a roof over our heads ‘back then’; but they did, somehow they did.
We certainly stayed outside all day and played from sunrise to sunset (and later) and quite honestly, we all did not have a care in the world. Why was that?
My dream of activity in the Smollon home (and it was a very active household) made me, again, realize something about our parents. They took an unusual amount of great effort to make sure we did not have a care in the world. Our job was to be kids and I remember that our parents were exceptionally good making sure that is what we were. Kids. Kids who really did not have a whole lot to worry about.
Money problems. Sending kids to school. Running a household. Stress at work. The promotion that did not come. A sick child. Bills. Medical bills. Injuries. Car accidents. I’m sure they all had their share of ………life. We rarely, if ever, knew.
Those events that were impactful, I guess we remember. I remember my cousin calling my dad and speaking with him for guidance before her husband arrived home and she would tell him his brother was killed in a car accident; I remember the death of a neighbor or relative, but for the most part, we were insulated away from the day-to-day stress that any parent feels.
And now deep into being a parent, we do the same. The older I get, the more I realize just how incredible our parents are/were. The way they sheltered us from so much pain and anguish. Our parents were certainly not perfect but they did much with what they had. They did much to set the foundation of our lives and to teach us what really matters.
Sometimes I long for those simpler days. No one can take away everything we all must deal with day-to-day. I long for the ‘simpler’ days when I would knock on the Smollon’s wooden back door and ask if Richie could come out and play? Yes, those were the days.
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