Sunday, January 20, 2008
It took us almost 3 years, but we just finished reading out loud the entire 9 book set of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House Series. I had read these books as a girl, and I remembered liking them, but I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading them as an adult and with my children. There were many nights that I continued reading (even though I was fairly confidant that the girls were asleep) because I wanted to know what happened next. I think the stories of a simpler, much harder time taught my girls some very valuable lessons in gratitude. It is quite a juxtaposition of times-- ours and Laura's. She relishes the first "real" doll she gets, but is said to part with her "corn cob" doll . . . while my kids have 14 dolls that they rarely play with. Laura's family nearly starves during the long winter and lives off of a wheat roll for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for months and my family complains when we have the same meal in the same month (except pizza and mac n' cheese, of course). I especially loved These Happy Golden Years (when she marries Almanzo) and Farmer Boy (the story of Almanzo's childhood). The books have such an optimistic tone that when we started The first four years I was so surprised by how devastating life was for her and Almanzo. More than once I cried while trying to read. (Their crops failed each year -- hail, wind, drought, freezes; their son dies at 3 weeks old; their home burns down; they get in so much debt they eventually lose their homestead claim and move onto their tree claim, drought kills all their trees and they cannot own up on the tree claim, they both contract dyptheria and Almanzo suffers a stroke at age 27 I think which renders him partially paralyzed and so Laura must help him even more to keep up the farm.) It makes my first four years of marriage seem like paradise. I am so grateful for the times I live and the challenges I have.