I don’t know how she does it

By Bruce Stambaugh

August is rapidly coming to a close. For our family, that means that Neva is in her comfort zone doing what she does best.

Neva loves to help others. It’s in her DNA. In the fall, our daughter’s busy family becomes the center of our attention. In part, that is why we moved to the Shenandoah Valley.

Carrie is the women’s volleyball coach at Eastern Mennonite University. Her personal and professional schedules are head-spinners. Practices and meeting with players consume Carrie’s time. Once the regular season starts soon, it gets to be grueling.

canning

Neva spends much of her time in the kitchen preparing meals, frozen sweet corn, and applesauce for others.

Of course, our daughter has a family to care for as well. That’s difficult to do, even with a helpful and talented husband. That’s where we come in, especially my wife.

Before our move from Ohio’s Amish country to the Commonwealth of Virginia, Harrisonburg became our temporary home in the fall. Neva lived there August into November. I shuttled back and forth during those months as work duties called.

Now that we are retired and live just five miles away, we can quickly assist our daughter and her family. When it comes to Neva, “assist” is an understatement.

My energetic wife puts all she has into helping our daughter’s home run as smoothly as possible. It’s a must do situation with three active grandchildren and both of their parents working full-time.

creativity,

Neva added a repurposed screen door to a flowerbed.

With Neva taking the lead, my wife and I gladly step in to do what we can. Me? I do whatever I’m asked or told to do. If you are a betting person, wager on the latter.

Of course, the grandkids and our son-in-law all do their part. We fill in the gaps when work and school schedules preclude household chores being completed.

When it comes to domestic skills, I can’t hold a candle to Neva though. She plans and prepares family meals. I set the table and clean up. Occasionally, Neva prepares food for the entire volleyball team. I’m the gopher. I go for this and go for that.

While Neva is cooking or cleaning or shopping, I might be running the oldest grandchild to the gym for workouts or picking up the middle grandkid from after-school activities or accompanying the youngest to her soccer practice.

See what I mean? All that coming and going keeps us active, energized, and helps us sleep well at night.

In addition to all of this activity, our son has taken a new job in a different state seven hours away from us. With Neva leading the way, we helped him ready for this significant transition in his life, too. We were glad to do what we could.

Why does Neva do all of this? It’s all she knows how to do. It’s how she loves. Her compassion manifests into tasty, nutritious meals, quality time spent sharing her gifts and wisdom with the grandkids, and a sense of security for our son, daughter, and son-in-law.

enjoying an evening

Every now and then, Neva takes a break.

I marvel at Neva’s determination, fortitude, skills, and drive to aid others. It’s definitely that time of year again, and we all reap the benefits of Neva’s generous gift of hospitality.

Our fall schedules are hectic to be sure. Neva and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

To paraphrase the late Arthur Ashe, we do what we can with what we have right where we are. At our age, at any age really, that’s all that can be expected. In Neva’s case, she exceeds any and all expectations.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2018

12 Comments

Filed under article, column, family, food photography, human interest, photography, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, writing

12 responses to “I don’t know how she does it

  1. Nice to see this window into your life! I did stop in to Time and Optics, and they pointed me to a farm. After a nice living room chat, the farmer took me out to his silo, and I got a great photo of the barn owl! http://marlandphotos.com/2018/08/24/barn-owl-and-roseate-spoonbill/

    I graduated from EMC in 1970! tc

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Marland. I’m glad you got to visit with the farmer and see both the barn owl and the roseate spoonbill.
    Bruce

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joanne Cuny

    Continued blessings to you, Neva & your family!

    Joanne

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Elaine

    This is a beautiful tribute to your lovely industrious wife. I’m sure her job would be more difficult without your support. It takes the both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gail B

    Neva certainly is a human dynamo and a beautiful lady in all ways. Together you are a great team..just remember who is the boss, Bruce!! :))
    Thank you for continuing to share your life and beautiful family with us.
    In friendship, Gail

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think this is beautiful. I am tearing up a bit because if my mom lived near me, this is how she would be. And I’ve always wanted to live near her but don’t want to live in my hometown. Your grandchildren will remember all of this fondly.

    Liked by 1 person

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