I wrote this a couple of years ago, but it still applies as worthy of sharing. I shared this just before Paul died, I am so glad I expressed this.
I was probably nine when Rita DeBry showed me how to make a bow.
I can still see her hands showing me a thousand tasks she had hired me to do as her mother’s helper when I was eight. She taught me how to fold towels in threes, how to weed getting the root, to measure around the tree base to get uniform circles, and how to decorate a home from second hand treasures from wallpaper to paint.
More importantly, I learned just from hearing her interact with her family as she had seven kids.
Her home was like a hug full of warmth, laughter and food. The day her son came home with kool-aid in his hair, which by then was just really crazy stuff, she teased him but with so much love that I asked her, ”So, you’re ok with the hair that color?” She smiled saying its only hair. She then took a teaching moment – she sat me down and talked of love, acceptance and what was really important in relationships. She explained that day and a thousand other times in her example how love was unconditional. Love didn’t demand we look a certain way, behave, and do particular things.
Love simply was.
Like her home, it wasn’t grand. It didn’t jump out, but as you looked at it you would see the shrubs maintained to welcome you. The front door would soon be opening for you and the smell of whatever yumminess was cooking would be shared with you.
Once, someone pointed out that my father and husband were not alike. Yes, they have similarities of both loving God and being hard workers, but if girls tend to marry men like their fathers I hadn’t. I was asked, ”Who did I marry?”
I laughed remembering Paul, Rita’s husband, coming home and how Rita would excitedly show him whatever project we were working on. Paul was not very vocal but he had a presence of having it together. You respected Paul, you knew he was intelligent. Not because he told you so, you would just feel it. You also knew that Paul accepted nothing but the best effort. Paul loved Rita.
In my formative years of collecting the traits I wanted I took some from my dad, my brother Lance and a big dose of Paul for my recipe. After all it was Rita who taught me to combine ingredients to make the ordinary a little extra delicious.
When Rita first met Nathan Greene, in my mind, we were just dating. After all we had only known each other nineteen days… Yet, Nathan had that unspoken confidence about him, he had confidence in his goals. He would be my husband. After introductions Rita excitedly reminded me that we could honeymoon in the pioneer home I had helped renovate. I opened my mouth to tell her we were just dating, Rita just laughed and communicated to me this was a keeper.
It was the next day we were engaged.
When I told my parents thinking they would flip out as literally this was soo fast my dad said, ”Oh good we thought you were going to get rid of him like the others… This is the right one.”
Rita taught me more than how to make a home, she taught me how to recognize who to build a home with. Almost 40 years ago she taught me to make a bow on cellophane wrapped Martinellis, her standard neighbor gift. Just the day before this #lighttheworld challenge I too was tying bows on Martinellis. Unlike Rita, I am not taking them to the whole neighborhood as I don’t have a little Leta as my mother’s helper!
#childhood #lifelessons #Christmas