Monday, January 11, 2010

Aunt Clare

A letter from my South Carolina aunt.
Dear Niece,
There is an uncanny similarity between my stint in the Philadelphia area and your current situation in New England: very young children, maternal learning curve, extremely cold, snowy weather, culture shock, absentee husband, sense of wonder, isolation, frustration, excitement, maturation, and change. I know very well how busy and exhausted you are at the end of the day. You pray for temperatures to climb to a humane level so that you can bundle those babies and get them outside for some fresh air and exercise. You dread the germs that bring the kiddie crud as we used to call it. (It seemed like someone in the house carried a cold or flu from Halloween to Easter some years.) You want to support your husband, but you also want a larger chunk of his time for the children and for you alone.
You must co-op, child! If you have to stay home with 3 children, you may as well make it 5 or 6 and then have a couple hours all to yourself the next day. Hire 10-13-year-old "mother's helpers" to come play in the afternoons. Recite "The Children's Hour," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, everyday around 5pm to your little ones. They'll shock and delight some high school language arts teacher when they stand and deliver during class unit on poetry. Go to the public library every week and bring home 30 each time. Oh, and don't forget to reward the good behavior with a little dance party from time to time.
Enough with the sage aunt advice. I feel for you! I'd love to see you over the holidays, but if it doesn't work out, believe me when I say I totally understand. You are doing the hardest job - and the most rewarding work there is. Hang in there, kiddo.
Love, Aunt Clare

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