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The Eclectic Pen - Quality Time

By: IONE L. (zaneygraylady)   + 85 more  
Date Submitted: 3/8/2007
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs » Family & Childhood
Words: 347

I grew up in the fifties before quality time with parents was invented. A parentís job was to feed, clothe and instill values in their children. Education was the left to the schools. My father was a good provider but never spent anytime playing with us. Back then providing was all fathers were expected to do. My mother stayed at home until the youngest was in high school and then she went back to teaching. Keeping a clean house and raising eight kids, four boys and four girls, didnít leave room for quality time with our parents for any of us.
Dinner was on the table at six every night and all of us were expected to be there. Before we ate my father would lead us in the lords prayer. My mother was a great cook and made everything from scratch. Right after dinner my mother washed the dishes and one of us kids would dry them. We had a schedule of chores and I had to help with the dishes quite often. Mom was much faster at washing than I was at drying. Often I would have to return a dish that was still dirty to her. She didnít rinse well either. Even so I just couldnít keep up with her. How I hated to dry those dishes and I was sure to let mother know that on many occasions. Mainly I thought I had better things to do, whether it was hang out with my friends or watch television. In our busy household back then that was the only time I had alone with my mother. I donít remember a single conversation we had over the dishes. How I wish I could. How I wish I could replace the self centered girl I was back then to who I am now. It would be wonderful to stand beside her and dry those dishes today. That was our quality time and I didnít know it. It would be sacred time if I could dry those dishes with her today.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by IONE L. (zaneygraylady)

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Comments 1 to 6 of 6
George H. (blessedmom5k) - 3/8/2007 11:49 PM ET
I'm sure she knew, even then, that one day you would grow to understand how special that time was. Lovely story
Jessi H. (willpowered) - 3/9/2007 8:54 AM ET
And here I thought that it was due to her age that I hand back to my mother-in-law a few of the dishes she's washed, when I dry! It is interesting to me, Ione, that you don't see dinner, bible study, and chores as quality time. I suppose it may not be what some parents have in mind, today. But when I look back at my childhood, I have trouble remembering many conversations, per se. I recall quite vividly, however, things of note that we shared: living in the "gypsy wagon", butchering my goats, clearing paths and setting logs to hold dirt stairs in place. I hope that the bond I feel with my daughter as we vaccumm and dust (one chore a peice, dancing around each other with spray bottle and rag, extension cord and hose), is at least as valid as the one we get from talking about her future and her loves, and politics.
IONE L. (zaneygraylady) - 3/9/2007 3:25 PM ET
I do see it as quality time now. In my youth I didn't.
Jessi H. (willpowered) - 3/15/2007 2:31 PM ET
Yeah, I thought so...I think that many kids miss the meaning of quality time, even if the words are attached, and the time is more playful than routine.
Judy M. (foreveramom) - 3/15/2007 5:04 PM ET
Thank you, makes complete sense to me and brings back soft,hazy memories of what,in my mind, were simpler times.
Susie W. (swhite) - 3/19/2007 12:19 AM ET
Wow it's hard to hard to have it all, isn't it? I'm nostalgic for regular home-cooked meals and even the thought of doing dishes by hand! You expressed so well the desire to go back and put a more mature self back in time to recapture the missed potential of the past that was once the only present that existed. (Did that make sense?) I bet your mother would feel the same way about that missed opportunity because as a mother of young children now I'm constantly wanting to backtrack when I look back at pictures. I see their innocence and desire to be loved and appreciated for the true miracles they are, but in the hustle and bustle they grow and moments are lost. I love the line "That was our quality time and I didn't know it." When you are matured you suddenly see the power you have to change the scenario instead of simply putting the blame on one party. Interesting - thanks!
Comments 1 to 6 of 6