An introduction to our family

First let us say that we love blogs! You can just say what you think and let it fly! In this first post of our new Deseret News blog about families at home and abroad let us introduce you to our own family. I (Linda) personally think there is nothing more fun that having a big family. At least in hindsight! There were days when I rolled over at 6 a.m. with a groan wondering how in the world I was going to survive the day. There were mouths to feed, music lessons to practice, homework to finish, myriads of sports events to cheer for and the never-ending orthodontist appointments. (Basically I think our funds to correct those genetic “buck teeth” built our orthodontist a very nice house!)

But then there were the family traditions that made life so fun! Days like burying Richard in a ton of leaves on his birthday every October 28th at Liberty Park and writing a list of things we were thankful for about a mile long on adding machine tape on Thanksgiving morning that continued to grow as the cousins, aunts and uncles entered our house for the big meal made all the hard stuff a blur in the background. Basically our life when the kids were all home was full of mayhem and a lot of minutia along with some moments of pure magic.

What you don’t know from just looking at this picture is that we took our lives in our hands to get up on that ten foot high tree limb in Sugarhouse Park.And by the way, we were on our way to the hospital directly after the picture to get a skin graft on the leg of one of those boys who had had a motorcycle accident. Isn’t there a story behind every picture?

What wonders have happened between the time of the picture above and the picture below taken at our family reunion at Bear Lake last summer exactly twenty years later!

Before you look at any of these pictures and imagine that our family is perfect … or that Richard and I grew up in perfect families, let us assure you that we have struggled just like you have. All families are struggles (and that is a mild word for it!)

Richard’s father died at age thirty nine when Richard was fifteen and the oldest of five children. His mother raised those kids at a poverty level (though they didn’t know it at the time) and has been a widow now for fifty years and at eighty eight is praying every day that her long-deceased husband Dean will come and get her.

I was born into a blended family with a quiet saint for a father whose first wife had died and a dynamic mother who was thirty eight when she married my dad (who was thirteen years older than she was.) They adopted a child and then immediately had me when mom was forty one and my sister when she was forty two. I have a half sister who died of cancer and a half brother who died an alcoholic.

Those twenty years between the pictures above represents a lot of joyful and gratifying times mixed with heartrending, downright miserable times. In our own now extended family, there is always at least one child in crisis and as soon as that crisis eases another one shows up. We have an adorable four-year-old granddaughter who was diagnosed last year with a rare genetic syndrome which will involve blindness sometime between the ages of nine and fifteen as well a struggle with obesity and kidney issues unless the world of research can find some way to intervene.

Life is never easy! But the hard times are often what create the goodness in our lives even though we wouldn’t ask for them. What a truly incredible world we have encountered in our travels through the eyes of families living in different cultures. From China to Africa we have found the values parents want for their children are exactly what we want for our own! We look forward to sharing our insights with you.

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