Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Supermom! The Rental . . .

Picture this same number of children
With three less adults.

When we were six . . .









My good friend was in hospital for a couple of days for some minor surgery.
Her four kids (three girls and one boy) were staying with us.
And our (then) four kids. (Three boys and one girl)
The kids were perfectly matched.
Boy-girl, boy-girl, boy-girl and boy-girl.
And got along very well.
My house was quieter with eight (ranging in ages from 1 to 7) kids in it, than it was with just my own four.
They were all playing happily.
Then I suddenly realized that I needed to go to the store.
Sigh.
The status quo was about to change.
I buckled in what amounted to essentially four sets of twins and started off.
All went well.
We arrived at the store.
I immediately hunted up a cart.
No way I was going to try to herd this bunch without some modern conveniences.
The two babies were buckled into the baby compartment on the cart.
The two toddlers went into the basket.
The two kindergarteners hung onto the outside.
And the two seven year olds were allowed free range.
But with strict instructions to stay close.
We were off!
My errands were run in record time.
Surprisingly.
And, quite suddenly, it was snack time.
I looked into my wallet.
I should point out, here, that my husband had just graduated from post secondary and was working in his first real job.
We were poor.
Well, rich in children.
But poor in things that can actually purchase things.
Moving on.
My wallet held the grand total of two dollars.
Which in itself was a miracle.
I was standing in the middle of the food court, contemplating my options.
They were . . . limited.
Finally, I approached a kiosk called, The Loaf, which specialized in sandwiches made from thick slices of 'freshly-baked-on-the-premises' bread.
"What would you charge for just a slice of fresh bread and butter?" I asked the girl behind the counter.
She scrunched up her face in thought.
Really.
Scrunched.
Then she said, "Twenty-five cents."
The magic words.
I ordered eight slices of fresh bread and butter and handed her my two dollars.
Then I passed out slices of thick, warm, fresh bread to each of my little hoard.
Who happily chowed down.
A cowboy term for tucking in.
Which is another cowboy term for . . . oh, never mind.
You get the picture.
They ate.
And enjoyed.
A couple walked past while my kids were busy . . . umm . . . enjoying.
"What a good idea for a snack!" the woman exclaimed. "I think you are the best mother I have ever seen!"
I smiled, rather self-consciously.
'Best mother' is obviously code for 'too-broke-to-buy-anything-else'.
We finished our snack and headed back to the Sears for one last item.
My friend's eldest daughter, who had been following closely asked if she could dart over and peek at the girl's blouses.
I told her that it was fine. I would just walk slowly so she could catch up.
And continued down the aisle.
I passed one of the entrances to the store.
Two women had just come in.
They, a mother and her mother, were struggling to control a small boy of about two.
Who was red-faced and screaming.
Actually, now that I think of it, all of them were red-faced and . . .
Ahem.
Back to my story.
The grandmother looked up and noticed me walk past with my cart full to overflowing with children and said," Here the two of us can't control one child and that woman," she pointed, "has . . . five, six, seven!"
Just then, my friend's oldest daughter rejoined our group.
I smiled at the women and said, "Eight."
And walked on.
Okay, I know it wasn't strictly truthful.
But it was so much fun to say it!!!
And, just for a moment, I felt like SUPERMOM!

11 comments:

  1. You ARE super mom....you could hold classes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And give grades! Hmm. Would that work . . .? :)

      Delete
  2. What fun. I occasionally felt like that when we took mom's six grandchildren on vacation. Oh, wait. That's two too few. Great story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But on vacation! Wow! I only had to appear as supermom for a few hours. On vacation, there's no hiding!

      Delete
  3. HA HA! Good for you.

    When I had six kids plus four more since I ran a day home at the time......all I would get is stares (out right RUDE ones) and even the occasional jab in the ribs with a wink and a "You DO know how to stop that don't you?" Not even kidding. Brazen or what. I couldn't believe how "bold" some people were with their comments.

    I just loved this post. I bet you ARE a great mom!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. I used to get that, too. And people asking me if we had heard of television. Sigh.

      Delete
  4. My mom had six kids and I don't know how she did it. I only have two (full time) and three every other weekend. I put my youngest in the front of the cart and my preschooler in the basket, otherwise he is on the other side of the store while I am screaming his name. (Yup, that one happened once. I thought my hubby had him and he thought I had him. Terrifying moment).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I absolutely understand your panic. The same thing happened to us. I thought he was with Daddy and Daddy thought he was with me. We found him at the other end of the mall. I'll never forget it. Gah!

      Delete
  5. lol I can't believe people would believe you had 8 all about the same age and not wins or anything lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mind-boggling, isn't it?! And I wasn't about to correct them . . . :)

      Delete
  6. Nice job, Supermom! I'm sure I couldn't have kept them all calm on a shopping trip like that.

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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