Linda Wood Rondeau

Having the Prime of My Life

MOTHERLY WISDOM
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 by CAROLINE CROCKER

              

PLEASE WELCOME

CAROLINE CROCKER

TO

HAVING THE PRIME OF MY LIFE

 

Mothers are good at giving advice—especially mine. Even though I’m grandmother to eight children and she’s 88, Mom regularly reminds me, “Enjoy who you have when you have them,” “Make the best of what you have,” and “Love your children passionately.”

When she said this while I was a teenager, I rolled my eyes. When I became an adult, I began to see that what she said might make sense. But, over the past five years, Mom and I co-wrote a book about her childhood growing up in the occupied Netherlands, Brave Face: the Inspiring WWII Memoir of a Dutch/German Child. Through this work I learned the origin of her wisdom and why she’s right!

And it’s not just because moms always are.

 

Enjoy Who You Have When You Have Them

When Mom was five years old, Germany bombed her little town of Scheveningen, obliterating the streets neighboring my mother’s childhood home. My grandmother’s best friend, Vera, whose home was flattened, walked into Mom’s home, carrying her baby boy covered in a blanket. Only three days later could Vera’s husband pry the tiny dead body out of her arms.

Mom learned that loved ones can be lost unexpectedly. Ever since, she has been careful to enjoy those she has, not using up emotional energy longing for those who aren’t there. Her five children live in Iowa, Houston, Weslaco, and Virginia, so all of us can’t come to every event. My children and grandchildren also have their own lives, but I remember Mom’s advice and enjoy every minute I have with any of them.

Make the Best of What You Have

Mom’s family of origin was working class: her father was a postman and her mother sometimes worked in a hair salon. Their home was small and modest, but they were contented. Then wartime deprivation forced them to trade their possessions for a potato or two and spend any savings on medicine for Mom’s eldest sister, who became ill with both hunger sickness and tuberculosis. The family continued in poverty after the war, but they made the best of what they had. The girls learned to sew clothing out of scraps and knit clothing for their baby brother. My grandmother kept their home sparkling clean and decorated it with ribbons, branches, and flowers. Mom even made sure that her shoes, which had holes in the soles, were clean and shiny.

The lessons learned during childhood continued to stand Mom in good stead when she and Dad immigrated first to Canada and then to the USA. She sewed the curtains, bedspreads, and even our clothing. She kept our home as clean as possible with five children. Throughout my husband’s and my life in ministry, I too have found those hard-won lessons invaluable. I rejoice because, despite the second-hand furniture, our home is clean, comfortable, and attractive. It “sparks joy” in my heart.

Love Your Children Passionately

During the war, Mom and her siblings experienced what no child should. Mom saw people being shot and the bodies being mistreated. She witnessed a building being bombed and heard the trapped people screaming. She absorbed her father’s suspicion of those around him because several of their countrymen sided with the Nazis. She worried about one sister being bullied and the other being at death’s door. But she grew up to be a functional adult who raised five functional children.

How is this even possible?

Honestly, I don’t know, but maybe it had something to do with the way her parents loved her. Throughout the story of her rather harrowing childhood, it is evident that Mom was loved. And, throughout my life, I’ve been very aware that I am too. Thus, I take seriously Mom’s final piece of advice: Love your children extravagantly, no matter what.

ABOUT BRAVE FACE

According to Dr. Hemchand Gossei, author of numerous books on the Jewish Bible and Professor, “[Brave Face] has universal human themes that touch our hearts movingly. It is a story deeply resonant in our time, one that grants us a measure of hope that terror and evil do not have the last word. Meta gives us hope, and that is an act of grace. Brave Face is a memoir to be cherished.”

Not only that, it’s a book full of wisdom and life lessons. I should know. I’ve benefited from them.

ABOUT DR. CAROLINE CROCKER

Dr. Caroline Crocker is a multi-genre writer, focusing on truth written like fiction, and a blogger addressing science, faith, teaching, and other topics. In her previous life, she worked as a biologist, medical research scientist, associate professor, nonprofit founder, and CEO. Caroline lives with her husband in Northern Virginia, where she has four grown children, eight wonderful grandchildren, and a bulldog who snores very loudly.

For more of Caroline’s writing, check out https://ramblingruminations.com.

ABOUT META EVENBLY, COAUTHOR

Coauthor Meta Evenbly (88) has lived in the Netherlands, Canada, the USA and England. She was married to Frits, who passed in 2017, and has five children and many, many grand and great-grandchildren. Studying in her “spare” time, Meta was awarded a degree in Liberal Arts from St Thomas University, Houston at the age of 59. According to Meta, “It’s important not to stop living before you’re dead.”

Extra information, and a preview into Meta’s unique style, can be found on the Brave Face YouTube Channel here: http://tiny.cc/jackboot. Signed books can be obtained by ordering through the website, https://iammeta.org or at any online retailer.

 


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