Moveable Feast of Childhood

There is certain New Year feeling that fills us long before the holidays. The first snowflakes remind of the home of your childhood, cozy yards and sagged snowman with a carrot instead of a nose. Waves of reminiscences cover you: parents expecting Santa Clause like small children, presents under the Christmas tree and heaps of candies. The Christmas miracle has been with the Voroshilovs for more than 20 years now. Twenty years of childhood with its brightest holidays, Christmas and New Year
They are a unique family not only for the city of Zhlobin, where the nine Voroshilovs live. This seems a unique family for Belarus, because it is a real feat to have seven children today. To bring them all up in happiness is another great deed that only the wise are capable of. Anyways, Svetlana Voroshilova, the mother of seven, says it’s no miracle.

“When my husband and me, the graduates of Vitebsk Technology College, came to Zhlobin back in 1979 to work at the local skinnery, we were hardly thinking about a large family and lots of children. We were very keen on our new jobs, I just loved social work, and Alexander was very much into production. Now he is the leading specialist of the marketing department. Our first child, Nastya, was born when I was 26.”

Yevgeny followed bit later, and then came Sergei. Svetlana had two options then: either a child or postgraduate studies. She says she simply listened to her heart: “It could be God’s plan for me.” And she chose to have another child. And four more children: the twins Vanya and Anya, Liza and Georgy.
The factory helped the growing family a lot; they were given two large apartments in one house, six rooms all in all. Social benefits and her husband’s salary allow the mother and the children to live in comfort.
At present the family, mostly the 12-year-old Vanya, are designing their own house. A long term interest-free loan that the state provides to families with many children is worth thinking about, the Voroshilovs believe.

…Svetlana has been working as a mother for 15 years now, and she has never been sorry. Her work cannot be called simple, though, but Svetlana does not accept my sympathetic smile. It is not easy, she says, but you get back into childhood with every new baby. The kids are getting bigger and help more and more: they clean the house, do the washing up and shopping and work in the summer house.

Svetlana and Alexander are not afraid of progress: the mother takes her kids to the linguistic gymnasium, one of the best schools in the city, every day, and often attends classes with them. She must be ready to help them any minute. Moreover, Svetlana takes them in her car to various clubs and hobby groups. This is simple philosophy: you have to give the child a chance to try everything in order for him or her to choose the main interest in life.
I am getting dizzy with their achievements. The 22-year-old Nastya, the first one to test her parents’ philosophy, now studies in the doctorate of Paris University of Political Studies. French came easily to her when she was in school, she used to win nearly all language contests and was invited to study abroad. Yevgeny is a student of Budapest Economic University. Nearly the same story: languages and character are likely to make an excellent economic diplomat of him.

The mother is absolutely certain that after her kids graduate, they will get back to Belarus to find their destiny here. The younger kids look at their brother and sister and are willing not to lag behind. Sergei is keen on volleyball, photography and video shooting. Vanya likes mathematics, and Anya is an excellent dancer and bead weaver. Liza and Georgy are good at sports and music. The future is theirs.

The mother gets sad sometimes. The Voroshilovs are together only during Christmas and News Year holidays. They start getting ready for the feast in November, organizing contests and decorating their rooms, sewing costumes of fairies, hedgehogs, wizards and musketeers. The New Year performance is always a surprise for the parents.

Whereas the New Year’s Eve for the Voroshilov family is a fountain of joy, excellent mood and late night hoopla around the Christmas tree with Santa Claus Vanya and Snowmaid Liza, Christmas is filled with calm and silent happiness of a family feast with a stuffed goose, pies with mushrooms, aspics and meat in pots. The Voroshilovs speak about their holidays, laughter, merriment, talks, and I understand that it is in this large family that this Christian holiday is in its best. It is also clear that miracles are very easy to work; you simply need a magic wand called Love, which is the guiding light of this family.

by Violetta Dralyuk
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