Hannah, Audrey and I have started Laura Ingalls Wilder's books at naptime. I wondered if they were old enough yet, but as I hoped they really love them, and identify with Laura especially. I loved these books as a kid, and have so much fun experiencing them with my kids. One thing I didn't expect though, is that I see the stories through the eyes of Ma and Pa now, instead of Laura. I'm left with a new-found awe of what they went through just to survive.
Like yesterday, we read the chapter called "Two Big Bears." Pa had to WALK to town through the snow, carrying his furs for the spring, couldn't carry his gun, and didn't return at sundown like he was supposed to. So Laura carried the lantern, and she and Ma headed to the barn to milk the cow. Outside the barn, they found what they thought was the cow because of the dim light, so Ma smacked it to try to get it to move into the barn, but when Laura raised the lantern, they got just enough of a glimpse for Ma to see it was a bear! She calmly asked Laura to go back to the house, and when they got about halfway, Ma scooped her up and ran to the house, locking the door behind them.
I kept tearing up, reading this story to the kids. I just can't imagine living out in the middle of nowhere like that, with my husband gone, not sure if he would even return. The weight of caring for three young children is incredible sometimes, but I don't know how those pioneer women did what they did. Incredible.