The Urban Homemaker's Daughter Reminisces

Laura, my oldest daughter and her husband Brandon

Ed Note: Laura wrote some memories  for me last week about being The Urban Homemaker’s daughter that made me cry, and I’m just now getting to posting the article.

I hope her reflections will encourage all parents who think they could have done much better raising their children that it will work out in the end as God intercedes for us constantly.   Please be blessed, entertained, and encouraged.

I have been SO busy coordinating details for my ailing 89 year old parents in Florida that I’m not up to my usual writing and blogging.  My mother is in a rehab and her memory is going, dad is sharp as a tack but weak, and just starting to get his strength back.  I have been running in a whirlwind to keep up with the details here in Florida.   My sister Terry and her husband are staying with my youngest daughter Mary back in Colorado.  I go home on Thursday.

Memories from The Urban Homemaker’s Daughter

Last Friday I accompanied my mom to the sale of her business to the Marsh family. I thought it was so special to see this young family, who must look a lot like my own family did when my parents began their business, taking over The Urban Homemaker. As they signed the papers, and their 8 year old boys talked excitedly about getting to be a part of the business, I couldn’t help but to reminisce.

Growing up as the “Urban Homemaker’s Daughter” certainly had its ups and downs. Sometimes it felt like there were more “downs” than “ups.” Like how my mom always had dad on hand for disciplinary issues and knowing that there were frequently several employees privy to the discipline taking place.

Or like how when there was extra work my brother and I were usually the involuntary enlisted personnel to take care of the work. There were also a lot of “downs” like financially tight times after Y2K when people had more than stocked up on supplies, or after 911 when people were too worried to spend money. Of course, now we can all look back on these times with a sense of humor, but at the time, there was nothing funny about a spanking or about an overdrawn bank account.

I didn’t realize many of the “ups” of the business until I was older and in college and married. One particular “up” that I appreciate now was when I was 14, business was booming with the possibility of a disaster when the calendar flipped from 1999 to 2000. My parents seemed to be constantly short on help, and I soon found myself in a permanent position in the shipping department.

If you ordered anything around that time, most likely it was picked and shipped by myself (and the packing material probably came from my brother who was 8 years old and the official “paper shredder”). For awhile I greatly resented that I was forced to squeeze my school work morning hours and then devote afternoons to shipping.

However, my parents didn’t completely enslave me, they paid me for my time and when I graduated from high school, I had a tidy little sum to see me through college debt free.

Along with the benefit of working through high school was that I learned the value of working hard. Being responsible for the entire shipping department, talking to upset customers on the phone when their order didn’t arrive they way they ordered it, and learning to juggle school and work perhaps made me grow up faster than many kids, but it wasn’t necessarily a bad faster.

And now that I have worked for a variety of places during college and after, I can see that being able to work hard, pay attention to detail, and deal with conflict greatly enhances job security.

Finally, another “up” that I have come to appreciate is that my dad was pretty much always around. This just seemed normal to me. Families where dad left at early in the morning and returned in time for dinner or later,  seemed strange.

I now realize that having dad at home is the exception, not the rule. Having a home business kept my dad more involved with discipline (which was also a “down”), in schoolwork (a few previous employees found themselves receiving a review of algebra as my dad patiently tried to explain it’s bewildering concepts to me), and in the daily matters of raising a family (although I don’t think my dad ever did a laundry…).

As my husband and I think about and plan for the future, we can see the great advantage to having not just mom, but dad in the home. It is a hope and goal to work towards.

My parents worked really hard to keep up the quality of their business and of their service. They also worked really hard to give me a quality education and family life. And in many ways, their hard work with their business and with their family intermixed together. It was certainly a unique situation, one that many people don’t get to experience.

While having a family business certainly had it’s moments, I don’t think that I’m any worse for the wear, and now I can say “thanks mom, thanks dad.”


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