• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Wednesday, October 28, 2015



I heard what you said.

You, the woman standing 5 feet on my right in the narrow store aisle, talking to the woman 10 feet to my left blocking the end of the same aisle with her cart and 2 kids.

You also had a child with you.
She clung tightly to your hand.

I couldn't help hearing you.
You were loud!

I quote, "I see you're stuck too." I looked. She didn't look stuck or unhappy to me. "I'm stuck with bringing her with me. I couldn't get rid of her. The other kids are at school, but I'm stuck with her. I just couldn't get rid of her."

How did that clinging child feel?

I was talking to my mother last night. I asked her if getting married or having kids was a big change for her. She told me how she loved to go babysitting when she was young because she loved kids so much. I don't think she ever felt 'stuck.'

Jean Campbell about age 17
with children she helped care for.

Mom said they both had their work and they just kept on working after they were married so not much was different except they could be together. Her work was helping to care for a family with children.

What changed was she could have her own children.

She said she loved having her kids, and it was something she always wanted. She also talked a lot about how she loved being with her kids - all of them - all 10 of us as well as a foster child that came to live with us during the school year when he was about 10 years old.

Jean Campbell Forsyth with her first 7 children abt 1958.
We were visiting her mother and this photo is taken in the front yard. 

Mom told me that every mother has their own way of caring for a child and every child needs their own unique care. She said she learned a lot from all the mothers she helped.

I thanked mother for never making me feel like a nuisance and for loving an ornery kid like me. She seemed genuinely surprised.

"I never though my kids were a nuisance! I never thought you were ornery,"she said. "I never thought any of my kids were ornery."

"I loved being with my kids."

Forsyth family about 1963

I think she did.
I never felt like an unwanted nuisance.
I never felt abused, or neglected, poor or underprivileged.

Amazing how she forgets all the stupidity of all of us.
 How she cherishes being a mother.

I think she has the key to parenting.
She knew the most basic of basic concepts.
She loved having kids, and being with kids.

Her husband and family were everything to her.

They are still.
I think they always will be.

Friday, October 16, 2015


16 October 2015

I am holding summer tightly as the fresh nights cool and slow the garden and yard. The porch pots trail long, and the roses out front burgeon in showy splendor. 

It hasn’t frozen yet, though leaves are turning and the Virginia Creeper over the fence is brilliant red.

This week has been busy: homework to hand in, produce to pick and preserve, appointments to endure, and meetings to manage. Autumn’s nostalgic cues trigger longings I don’t even begin to understand—yet they seem innate to my being and the season. I was born in October. 

Our background and environment (in the past as well as every day) clearly influence our life roles, our motives and decisions, and the way we interact with the world and people around us; even our aspirations and hopes. 

If I am a gardener I hope the frost holds off until the tomatoes are harvested, and, can I get just one more cucumber? 

I know the seasonal nuances that announce change, having learned them from my parents who learned them from their parents. They depended on the garden for food. Even if I never garden I still know the softness of the air preceding a snow. 

I have walked and worked with many knowing mentors. Precept and example taught what they valued; I heard their words and saw their choices.  

So it is with our families, our marriages, and our most cherished interpersonal relationships. The past, for generations, contributes culture and expectations. 

Some expectations are like Fall. We can’t even explain them—they are instinctively part of our intrinsic outlooks and attitudes. 

Are the attitudes good or bad? 

Usually neither, but agency and choices may turn them either way—to our benefit and joy or to our detriment, and that of the future.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ provides patterns of identity as sons and daughters of divine beings; a father and a mother with purpose and a plan for joy. 

Scriptures and living prophets outline ideals. 

And each of us finds our own way to arrive as near or far from those ideals as we wish. 

Increasing clamor to conform to more secular standards tests our sincerity. 

Will the next generation know their divine birthright?

Can we model and mentor?