The Bennetts. The Marches. The de Luces. The Rosenburgs.
What do these families have in common? All have been blessed with a wealth of daughters!
A few weeks ago, we learned that we’re expecting our third daughter, so I thought I’d celebrate by writing about one of our very favorite, all-daughter families and, more specifically, our favorite father of daughters: Pa Ingalls.
The Ingalls family has reached such stature in our home that, for a time, Lydia answered only to Laura, called us Ma and Pa (we loved that), and so thoroughly convinced Sarah that her name was Carrie that Sarah would argue with anyone who said otherwise.
You probably remember the Little House books from your own childhood: the homesteading adventures of the Ingalls family, who lived in a new state for each of the first five books, built their homes by hand, lived in the wildest places (often miles from their nearest neighbors), and grew up with a freedom that few of us know today.
In sharing her childhood with generations of readers, Laura Ingalls Wilder both captured a significant time period in American history and wrapped us in the details of her own family life. Who can read about the Ingalls and not long to be a part of a family like that?
This is another series that is cheapened by reading it in pieces, as it follows Laura’s life from childhood to motherhood with a surprising depth of detail. For those of you who think these books are too idyllic, I especially recommend reading through the entire series: as Laura starts a home of her own (in The First Four Years) one learns, along with Laura, how very hard her parents had worked for her all through her childhood. It is a credit to her parents that Laura carried such honest, beautiful memories with her to the page when she wrote.
And so, to the Ingalls family, I tip my hat. To Pa, whom we Rosenburgs have come to love dearly, I give an especially hearty nod. It can’t have been easy, raising girls in the wilderness, but from his booming laugh to his singing fiddle, you’d never know if it were otherwise.
And lastly, to my husband, who is every bit as deeply loved by the womenfolk in his life, I give a deep and dignified curtsy. Here’s to raising our daughters together!
If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to close with one of my favorite quotes on the subject, from Greg Brown’s song, “Daughters”:
“I’m a man who’s rich in daughters
and if by some wild chance, I get rich in money—
like another two thou a year,
or even one thou a year—
I’m gonna look into having some more daughters.”
Little House Series
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams (1932-1971)