Be joyful even though you have considered all the facts...practice resurrection. -Wendell Berry

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

staying connected to young adult children

We had a cord of wood delivered here in CT. In the old days, our kids would work at stacking it for us, to earn spending money. Stewart did such an artist's job with the wood, that friends would hire him to stack theirs! Batman and I are missing those helping hands right now, as we go out and stack, bit by bit.

Some of you may remember the days back in Illinois, when we all cleaned the house together on Saturday mornings, and then the kids would trek off to buy GUM, for Gum Day. The only day in the week they were allowed such treats. They looked like Jersey cows for the rest of the day! 

We always had a chore wheel (adapted from summer camp), that rotated every week. I wish now I had saved one.

This nostalgia was inevitable, right? Ya, well, those were the golden years in the Reed family, when we all lived and loved under one roof.

So, what are we doing now, to stay connected? Sunday night conference calls, that's what. We all manage to check in on our week. All the while, the trains that chug past Gretta's dorm room window (out in Illinois), blast their whistles.

And we just started a family blog, where we post pictures, movie and book recommendations, recipes and who knows what else.  (Sorry, it's a private blog). I got the idea, because I am NOT Facebook friends with my kids, but I wanted a way to be in touch with them that was a step up from e-mail. Only up for a few days, the blog has already fulfilled its mission.

And yesterday, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by our daughter, Hannah, a senior (!!!) at Earlham College.  She is working with Len Clark and some students on a research project on consensus, funded by a Ford-Knight Grant. She was asking me about how Peter and I used consensus in raising our family. Although we did not actually use consensus in the formal Quaker way, we did use an inclusive process of decision making in our family. I was reminded that it took so much time and patience, and sometimes I wondered if it was worth it...but I think it's in part, why we are so blessed today. 

And now I am off to my sewingroom/studio, for some secret sewing and more work on Gretta's quilt. I am so excited to be heading off to a knitting class tonight!  

P.S. Thanks for your comments and emails about my "giving up" post. I am was a private, difficult but healthy decision for me. Sometimes trying to live a good life is not easy, and I don't think that should be glossed over. I appreciate your kind thoughts.


  1. Karen,
    You put out such life affirming thoughts on your blog, it's no wonder that your readers and friends want to offer support when you are having difficulties. I love the idea of your family blog and conference calls. Your children are fortunate to have such a resourceful mother.

  2. The family blog is a fantastic idea. So are the conference calls! Sunday night has traditionally been the night I call home since moving out...hmm...almost 20 years ago now. My mom and brother just pass the phone back and forth since they are usually in the same place. My mom and I also used to email each other back and forth allll day long. We've done that for about 8 years. I definitely have missed that since she stopped using the computer in January. It's wonderful how technology can help keep us together.

  3. My arms and back hurt just thinking about stacking that wood...
    xoxo Gretta

  4. Hey Karen - took Shelby & a friend to a college fair last p.m. and I was talking up Earlham. I figure if your wonderful family is so much a product of that place, it's got the best ambassadors around! I'm still a little intimidated by all this technology, but a family blog sounds like a worthy goal for the future. We'll stick with our Sunday confernce calls for now too!

  5. Thanks all, for the affirming comments. I appreciate them. :-)

    I used to be a techno-phobe, but I have come to realize the many benefits of the internet! Imagine saying good-bye to your child as they climbed into a Conestoga wagon, not knowing if you would ever hear from them again! Yikes!

  6. Karen - I have just read this, and of course you have read mine along the same lines - we have more than a little in common! The letting go is one of the hardest things about motherhood and really we are so lucky now in terms of communication. Except mine is not good at communicating! A real talker when he is present, but when he heads off - radio silence! And neither of my boys take my blog seriously - even if I tell them they can use it just like Facebook to keep in contact.

    But at least he is not far away this time, and terms are not too long, either - I have time to get used to it gradually. (And the men in my life are big on log piles, too - I think I put a pic of ours somewhere on my blog.)

    Pomona x

  7. Hi Karen, just catching up and see i am way behind in reading your lovely posts. A family blog and conference call are both wonderful ideas! My family keeps in touch with Sunday telephone calls, which started way back in the mid 1940s when my father went to college, the first in his family to do so, and my grandparents wanted a way to keep in touch with him (and of course he never wrote home!). After he and my mother married, my grandparents continued the weekly phone calls. Many years later, my sister and i went off to college...and were expected to be in our dorm rooms on Sunday for our phone calls from our parents. We each graduated, moved on...still the Sunday phone calls continued. It was how i first realized my mother was suffering some sort of dementia, when she didn't sound right on the phone calls. In one phase, she talked on and on without purpose. In another phase, all she did was parrot what my father was saying. Later, when she was in the assisted living facility, he would call us on his cellphone set on speaker phone and she surprisingly joined in from time to time.

    Anyhow, sorry for the long post, but it's lovely that you have a family tradition of keeping in touch....may it last for a long long time!