I grew up in a family of 8. Yes 8 children. Unheard of..unimaginable right? I think of my own 3 children and think of what it would be like to add 5 more of them. I. CAN’T. EVEN. I love my kids beyond everything I’ve ever known. But I know my capabilities. I just couldn’t do it.
So I give mad props to my parents. It’s really a lifetime achievement to raise that many children. And to not only just get through it and raise them. But to raise GOOD WONDERFUL children. I am not just tooting my own horn here. My siblings are awesome. I am so proud of who they each collectively are in their own right. Good people.
So who are we and how did we get here? It hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows for the Pelto clan. We have had our share of heart ache, loss, and even betrayal. We have had to fight and fight hard to keep our family together.
We have gone through moments where the only answer was to forgive. We have had to accept things that we cannot change about one another. We have fought with and for one another. But through it all, what we have is love.
At the end of the day, I know that these are my people. This is my crew. And if and when I come to the end of myself, these are the people that always pull me through. I KNOW that they are always in my corner.
As I was reflecting on and about my family today, I realized several solid truths that came from my parents that serve me well today.
Money will never break or make me
As you can imagine, with a family of 8 money was tight. I wore my sisters hand me downs. My mother put together some interesting meals depending on what was in the fridge. Gifts at Christmas were never elaborate. But you know what that taught me? To appreciate every thing I had. You take nothing for granted. And your thankful. And more importantly you never feel entitled. The world owes you nothing. Everything you have, your going to work for. And your going to be proud of your acheivements because it was never handed to you. And you’ll care more about the people around you that have less than you do. You’ll have compassion, you will want to share and help because you know what it feels like. It’s a blessing and it shapes you to be who you are later in life. I know how to get by with little. So I am much more appreciative when I am blessed with more than I need.
Never underestimate the poor
Not having everything thing that the world can offer at your fingertips makes you much more resourceful and creative. I can attest to this. You use what you have to get want you want. You know how to get by with a little. You work harder and from that comes amazing work eithic that others may lack. That alone can put you ahead of the pack!
You need a solid foundation to get through this life
This is huge! And something I will be forever grateful for. My parents made sure we knew the word of God. Why is this important? Because in this life only two things are certain. Death and taxes.
And when your world crumbles and people fail you where does your strength come from? You need to know that your loved and you have a purpose in this life no matter what may come. Your going to need an inner strength that cannot be found in yourself. Your going to have to know how to handle lifes trials.
And you can’t do it alone. You need to know that your maker made you and loves you and he is with you in all things good and bad. That alone has made a huge difference in my life. And I want my kids to know and learn these truths so that when they head out into this world, they know who they are and where their help comes from. They won’t be lost and broken when life hits. They will be strong in their faith and live bravely.
Compassion trumps everything
My youngest brother was disabled and required around the clock care. It was so hard to watch him deteriorate. It was even harder to watch my parents hurt. Johnny was and still is the most amazing person I have ever known. He touched my life like no one else ever could. He showed me what real love looks like.
It’s in the never ending selfless acts that we do for the ones we love that can offer very little in return. It’s sitting with someone and making them smile. It’s changing feeding tubes and depends to make them more comfortable. It’s holding their hand and kissing their forheads so that they know they are loved. It’s going to the store searching for something, anything that will bring them joy.
It’s seeing a single mother with a disabled child wheel her child into school. And really seeing how hard she works everyday just to get him there. That’s love folks! Its everything. Love and compassion fuels life and the air we breath. I am so thankful for my time with him. And being able to watch my parents walk through such a dark place and show us how to love. How to be patient, kind and never give up hope. I am thankful.
The only person you need to impress is God
When I was younger we moved alot. To and fro. Michigan, Arizona, Wyoming. Back and forth it seemed until I was in junior high we finally settled. My siblings and I have many debates and discussions about this. It was hard. I will admit that. Not fun to enter a small town and make new friends all over again. Always kind of feeling like the outsider to a group raised with one another.
But I will say this. I know that my parents made every choice with the belief that they were where God wanted them to be. Of course I never understood it then. But what the moves imprinted on me, good or bad. Is that at the end of the day, you account to one person. God. Your goal should be to try to make him proud. To be and do what he has called you to be. Following Christ will never be popular. And it will never be easy. But if he asks you to do something you do it. Not all are called to be ministers. And I really look up to my Dad in that respect. I am thankful that he followed that calling.
I would not be who I am today without the love of my family. I cherish the love, guidance and continual support of my parents.
Remember, there is no perfect family. All of us fight disfunction. All of us have problems. But I hope you can see your family with love. And see how important they are to you. And take the good with bad. We learn the most from the ones we love. Although we are not promised tomorrow, we can love them today.