|The Ruskamp children in 1995
Kim, Jeff, Emily, Scott and Ginger
My five golden rings will all be home this weekend. You might be wondering if I am referring to gold bands arriving in little UPS boxes. No, I am not referring to the five golden rings from “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. My five golden rings are our five children: Ginger, Scott, Emily, Jeff and Kim.
This weekend all five children will be home because our son, Jeff, is home for a week from Lima, Peru. This is like Christmas in February for me. Of course I can’t forget to mention we have a diamond on one of those gold rings with a little ruby to boot!
|Ginger and I in the spring of 1984.|
Our oldest daughter, Ginger, is married to Casey and they have a little girl, Ella that just turned one. Ginger was quite the responsible oldest child. When Steve and I first learned we were expecting a baby we were excited and nervous. Would I be a good mom? How will I know what she needs when she cries? That first pregnancy had some complications for me but in the end we had ourselves a beautiful baby girl with big blue eyes ready to take on the world right from the start. Ginger didn’t nap much as a baby and her energetic spirit was useful later on when caring for her siblings while I would do farm chores. Ginger loved to play school and that talent is used every day as she is a high school English teacher.
|Ginger, Casey and Ella|
|Ginger holding Scott a few
days after he came home.
|Scott also loves to read. Here he is sitting in the stereo
unit reading. Notice the long phone cord and record
player with dual cassette deck!
Scott was born on a very cold December evening. The doctor had a diesel engine that gelled up for him on the way to the hospital delaying delivery a little while. I remember well the nighttime feedings with just the Christmas tree lights on. Scott showed a preference for boy toys very early as he would line up toy cars in rows around the coffee table, make tractor noises and building all sorts of machinery from Lego’s and Tinker Toys. It amazed me how he could just look at something Steve had for equipment and make a replica from memory. Scott, too, spent many hours caring for siblings and time working in the feedlot when he was older. Working with cattle and farming was not what Scott found fulfilling and he chose to become a computer engineer. Scott also chose to live in sunny Santa Barbara, CA where he doesn’t have to worry about scooping snow!
|Ginger, Scott and Emily in 1987.|
|Emily holding her
Emily is the middle child that for awhile liked to be so silly that I made up a song about Emily the little clown. Emily had a very soft heart from the start that didn’t appreciate getting picked on by her older brother. Steve would tell me that he was the same way with his sisters so I shouldn’t worry about it. While Emily has a soft heart she also has deep passion to stand up for what she believes in. Emily was the first of the family to spend significant time away from home when she moved to Chimbote, Peru for two years as a missionary. Emily is currently living at home until she leaves in the fall for grad school. We are enjoying her company and local schools are utilizing her as a substitute teacher especially with her knowledge of Spanish.
|Emily snuggles with Jeff.|
When Jeff was born he just seemed to have a slight grin on his face the moment he came home. Jeff was always an easygoing, happy-go-lucky child. He is the one that never complained. “Ball” was his first word and he still enjoys many sport s including baseball and basketball. When Jeff went to college he started getting more involved with FOCUS and we saw a side of Jeff we didn’t know before. He could walk up to anyone and have a serious discussion about faith. Jeff is currently discerning a religious vocation. After graduating from college Jeff packed up for Lima, Peru where the formation occurs for the Sodalit community he is considering.
|Kim is the only one not sleeping as
everyone else appears wiped out.
|Jeff feeds Kim some toast on the
front porch of our old house with
a cat trying to get a bite too.
Then we have Kim. My little Chimmers. Yes, the baby of the family is certainly treated differently and I will be the first to admit it. Kim was born four years after Jeff and I honestly wasn’t sure I would be able to get back into the groove of changing diapers. It didn’t take long to fall in love with this little girl! Kim was the one that drew me pictures every day of horses, of me, or of us together. They started out as stick figures and gradually gained more detail as Kim gained more skills. Kim didn’t get all of the family suppers that her older siblings had. Kim was hauled to many high school activities and spent many hours on bleachers doing her homework. We do have plenty of family video with Kim as a child compared to the other kids. I don’t know if it was because I tried harder to get plenty of tape or if the quality of recorders was just much easier to use. I do know that she had the most hugs and rocker time because she had six people to do that instead of one or two. Kim also cares deeply for others and when a friend hurts, she hurts. Her journey to college last fall was tough on this mom but we have the advantage of technology to keep us close.
My five golden rings have blessed me in countless ways. I would have never guessed how many changes a mom goes through from taking care of babies to letting them go out into the world. I loved reading them books in the rocking chair, teaching them math while driving the pickup when we watered trees, cheering them on in their activities, crying for them when they experienced trials and smiling when things went well for them . The privilege of being a mom is priceless-certainly more than any gold ring.