By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian
Raising a family takes love.
It takes patience.
And it takes teamwork.
Lori and Ervin Harvey work together, making sure their children, Josh and Lauren, learn the proper values they need for a successful life.
It all started one day when Lori and Ervin were in biology class at North Marion. He was a junior; she was a sophomore.
“He’s a year older but he didn’t like biology and didn’t do as well in it as he wanted. So he repeated it. He didn’t have to but he did.
“I always thought he was extremely cute,” Lori said. “He can make me laugh about anything. When I’m down, he picks me up. And it works both ways. When one of us is down, the other is up. We just kind of fix each other.
“We were high school sweethearts,” she said.
“Not too many high school sweethearts stay together. That’s good. I don’t know if I want to train another one,” she said, laughing.
They will celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary this June.
Raising Josh, 22, and Lauren, 17, “takes teamwork,” she said.
“I’ve been blessed. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since Josh was 3. I worked until Josh was born. Ervin is self-employed in construction. He works long, long hours, but it really does take both of us.”
When the kids were little, they’d take turns with chores around the house like folding clothes or making supper. Later, they would switch off taking Josh and Lauren to practices, things like that. And when Josh got his driver’s license, that helped even more.
“After you’ve been together for so many years, you get the feel of what needs to be done,” she said. “You just kind of click.”
Each of them is from a large family. She has one sister and two brothers. Ervin has five siblings. And how things have changed since then, she said.
“I can laugh now, but growing up, we had a little one-story house and one bathroom. Nowadays, kids want three, four bathrooms. It’s funny how times have changed.
“If you had told me years ago when we were young that our kids would have all this, I probably would have started giggling,” she said.
“When Josh was about 12, he wanted his own cellphone. I had mixed feelings about that. It’s trial and error. We pretty much gave in and let them have cellphones and iPads and such. They use them for school more than anything else.”
Making decisions like this makes parenting tough.
“You hope as a parent you’re not steering them in the wrong direction,” she said. “Our kids were never really ones to sit down with PlayStations and all that. They’ve always pretty much been outside-type kids. They’re active, spontaneous and outdoorsy. They’ve never been ones to sit around the house a lot.”
Josh was active in football, basketball and track. Lauren cheerleads and takes dance.
Since Josh was 6 months old, the family has camped out, from pop-up tents to now their camp at Big Bear Lake.
All of this makes for a close family.
“That’s extremely important to me,” she said. “When I was 6, I lost my dad. I always knew if I found my fairy tale husband and kids and house with the white picket fence, I would pray every day for my kids to have both parents for as long as they can.”
While she has few memories of her dad, she remembers her mother at age 36 with four children to raise. Ervin’s parents also went through a lot of adversities, she said.
“Family time is extremely important to him, too. We knew even before we had kids we would have family time.”
Family time creates memories, even if it’s being stuck on the lake in a thunderstorm.
“That was scary but fun. Now we can laugh and say, ‘Remember the time ...’
“It takes a little determination every day to be a parent,” she said. “You have to keep things on track.
“When we were growing up, we listened. You need communication. That’s extremely important. It’s harder now. There are awful things going on in the world. I personally think it would be hard to raise a family now.
“My kids are fun-loving people, spontaneous, kind and generous. We laugh too much, if you can laugh too much.
“Our kids have been extremely blessed with wonderful teachers and coaches. When Josh had his graduation party, all of his special coaches except one showed up. That was a good time.”
She knew she would like working outside the home.
“I wanted to be independent and stand on my own two feet. But once I got married, I realized you can do this if you need to, but you can also lean on your partner. And once the kids came along, I felt that was what I was meant to do.
“With kids, you just start out and spend time with them. Respect and communication, patient and time.
“I’m pretty blessed with this family of mine,” she said.
Email Debra Minor Wilson at email@example.com.