I am not a pioneer.

I am not a pioneer.

It was a bit cold — in the low 20s — tonight when Micah and I picked the boys up from being babysat at our friends’ house. Our friends don’t live particularly close to us, and there isn’t a really good way to get there from our place. It’s two buses or two trains and a decent walk no matter which route you take. Micah was wearing Oliver in the bjorn, with his coat zipped up around him, and I was carrying Simon. We walked to the bus stop, looked at the time table and realized we’d have to wait at least 45 minutes for the next bus, so we decided to keep walking to the closest train station. It snowed a little bit last night, nothing too bad, and the sidewalks were pretty clear. At times we walked into gusts of wind, but they were always short-lived. Simon kept telling us he was hungry and asking for food, despite having eaten quite a bit before we left and having polished off a bag of goldfish cracker crumbs (I don’t blame him for confusing “hungry” with “tired” — I still do it all the time). We turned a corner and started walking up a small hill, and I looked over at Oliver. His nose was red and his drool was bubbling out of his mouth. I felt bad that he must be so cold and we still had a few blocks to walk before we got to the station. And then the thought, “At least you’re not walking across the Plains,” popped into my head.

I’ve heard of the ways people suffered as they crossed the Plains, of the cold and the scarcity of food. And it is true that at times I think I’m pretty hardcore, wearing my kids all over the place, carrying who knows how many pounds of laundry on my back in the rain and wind and snow. Sometimes I think we’re relatively tough because we don’t have a car and we do a lot of walking in all kinds of weather. But I always know that I’m not more than a few minutes away from warmth and food. I can tell my 2-year-old that he’ll just have to wait until we get off the train and then we’ll have dinner. And I don’t go to bed at night hoping my baby doesn’t freeze to death.

Micah and I are both descendants of pioneers, some of whom went through truly horrific experiences to get to where they were going. And right now I can’t believe that I have taken pride in the “difficulties” of my life. I am grateful that I can do the things I do, grateful that sometimes it is a little bit hard and that I do it anyway, but even more grateful that my ancestors were as tough as they were so that I don’t have to be.

6 thoughts on “I am not a pioneer.

  1. It's interesting to think of the hardships that they had to endure, and the hardships that we do, and how they compare. I don't think that I would have handled their lives well at all, but how would they handle mine? I wonder if they've ever considered it.

  2. I do feel some kinship with my ancestors when I go out in the freezing cold to collect eggs from the chickens before they freeze, or change their water with frozen fingers; but it's still nothing compared to their daily life. I share your gratitude for the times I live in.

  3. Thanks for this Lizzie. It definitely puts things in perspective for me. I'm with Abby- I'm sure that I wouldn't have been able to handle their trials well at all, but I wonder how they'd view the lives we live. Our challenges are so different. I too am grateful for the things they endured and for the strength I know they had to do what they had to do. And today I'm grateful for the sunshine. It's such a lovely day outside!

  4. I guess we all have our trials/difficulties to go through, but I'm glad mine weren't theirs because I don't know if I could've made it.

    A few days ago, I needed to go grocery shopping, but I also needed to drop the car off at the hospital for Cameron. I decided to go shopping, drop off the car, and walk home with Samuel and the groceries in the stroller. It actually felt pretty good to be a New Yorker again, but admit that getting it all up three flights was tough! I was awfully spoiled having an elevator in Brooklyn, and you are truly hard core. :0)

  5. I hadn't thought too much about the trials I have and how the pioneers might view them. I guess the physicality of their hardships makes it easy for me to think that they got the short end of the stick, but I don't really know what trials I have that are even comparable. I suppose I am too oblivious to recognize them.

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