Emma and I traveled back in time to 1914 this afternoon. We had a blast. There is a living museum here in town called Pioneer Village and you can walk all through this mock town set up outside and see how things were back in 1914. Emma is probably the only 7 year old kid I know that is obsessed with "old-timey" things, as she puts it. We went there for the first time last year and the highlight of the visit for Emma was when she got to learn how they did laundry back then and actually get to do it herself. She loved using the washboard and cranking the handle of the ringer to squeeze the water out of it. So, that was all she had been talking about today...how she couldn't wait to get there and do the laundry again. It's too bad I don't have the time or the patience to find myself a washboard and do our own laundry that way now, because I know for certain that she would be all over helping out with that chore! So, we toured through houses that were built in that time, saw all of the old furniture, stoves, old toys, bedrooms, and cellars. We walked through the grocery store, tailor shop, post office, church, blacksmith shop, and butcher shop. We talked with the people working there and learned a lot about the history. It was fun and I loved hearing Emma say how much she loved being there and how she wished she could live there. It sort of reiterated (not sure how to spell that...and too lazy to look it up!) in my mind the fact that she really truly is an old soul. I stood there watching her walk up the path to the farm house and barn and if I closed my eyes for a second I could picture her back then. I could vividly see her wearing the old clothes from that era...her hair in braids...running up the hill with a handful of wildflowers. I could see her stopping on the way to the house to talk to the cows and rub the horses nose. I could see myself standing in the kitchen sweating my patootie off wearing the long dress and apron cooking lunch. It was a nice image. In no way at all am I saying that I would rather give up my lifestyle now and become a Mennonite...lol...but it was nice to picture how our lives would be if we lived back then.
There was a moment though in one of the homes we were touring that put an abrupt halt to my visions of a simpler more peaceful life back then. Emma and I were in the kitchen of this house talking to the woman that worked there. She was showing Emma the old stove and explaining how they had to keep the fire stoked in there all day long to cook breakfast and lunch (apparently supper was always a cold meal like sandwiches or something). Emma was anxious to move on because it was getting close to the time that the laundry "activity" was going to start. So, as we stood there...Emma took her pump off her belt and pushed the button on it to wake it up so she could see what time it was. The woman sort of had an odd look on her face when she heard the beep, so I explained to her that it was just my daughter's insulin pump. As I stood there in this house built in the early 1900's, surrounded by antique kitchen items...it sort of hit me all at once. It Emma and I lived in that time...she would not be able to survive. My daughter would have died years before because of her diabetes. She would not have survived because insulin was not yet discovered in 1914...it was discovered 7 years later in 1921. My vision of my sweet little daughter dressed in her "old-timey" clothes running up the hill to me was wiped away in a flash. It felt like someone had just punched me in the gut and all the air was knocked out of my lungs. If we had lived in that time, I would have outlived my daughter...I would have suffered a loss so great and so unbearable, that I don't think I would have been able to go on.
I stood there in that kitchen surrounded by all of these things from so long ago and looked at Emma holding on to her pink insulin pump. I've seen her do this same manuever so many times over the past almost 2 months. It's such a normal sight...a comforting sight. I saw her holding that pump and I felt tears well up in my eyes. Not out of sadness for once! It was out of gratitude....gratitude that we do in fact live in a time and a place where she can not only wear this device that makes her life easier and more "normal"...but also an indescribable gratitude that we live in a time and place where she can LIVE with this disease. So, I will store away that beautiful vision of us living long ago for a nice peaceful rainy day....but I will now more so than ever be greatful for our life now and all of the opportunities we have.