By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian
Sometimes you just know when something is right.
When Melissa Cain saw her future husband, she had this feeling. She was in ninth grade at Waynesburg Central High; Rusty was in 10th and a wrestler.
She thought he was cute and got a friend to introduce him.
“And it’s been true love ever since,” she said.
They dated for about five years or so, and then got married on Aug. 7, 1993.
“I’m proud that we’ve been together since ninth grade,” she said.
She had this dream of what her married life would be: a close-knit family with children who shared the same morals and values she and Rusty had grown up with.
She has that now, but it took a while. They’d been married almost 10 years before Emma Grace was born. Now 9, she was followed two years later by little sister Abigail Marie, now 7.
Those two little girls keep their parents “a little busy,” she said with a laugh.
“Emma is very artistic and creative. She takes special art classes in the evening. Both are in gymnastics and Girl Scouts. This is their first year.”
A stay-at-home mom, she volunteers at Jayenne Elementary, where Emma is in fourth grade and Abby in first.
Dad Rusty is a local podiatrist and that keeps him plenty busy, too, she said.
“Yeah, it keeps him hopping,” she joked.
Sometimes, life at home makes her feel that way, too.
“Some days I feel like our life is so chaotic. Rusty serves on so many different boards, like on the state board of medicine. He has to go to Charleston every other month. That makes life difficult. Sometimes we don’t see him until almost 7 at night.”
But when he comes home, “It’s like Santa Claus,” she said.
“They’re Daddy’s little girls. They run and jump on him. I dont know how long that will continue though,” she said, thinking of the looming teen years.
“That won’t be long. I’m kind of dreading that. I love having little girls.”
They work together as parents, she said.
“We try to do everything as a team. He takes them to school. ... And I pick them up.”
As the girls get older, some things are getting easier and others, harder.
“There is a lot more homework to deal with,” she said. “It’s hard to juggle homework and activities, and still have our family dinnertime. But that’s important to me.”
They were living in North Carolina for his residency when she got homesick for this area. Fortunately, he found a job in Fairmont, not that far from where they grew up. So they moved here to start their family.
“Raising our children in a small town is important to us,” she said.
“Fairmont has been the ‘Friendly City.’ We’ve made wonderful friends here.”
Both their families live just across the state line in Pennsylvania, which helps the Cains be a tighter family.
“We feel that certain things are important. We try to do what we can as a family.”
She and the girls also go with Rusty to meetings if they’re not too far away.
Church is also important.
“It gives our kids a set of values to learn a greater being is always watching over you. We want to give them faith and love in their hearts, to have Jesus in their hearts.”
Family is also important.
“Rusty is the youngest of five, and I am the oldest of three girls. One of my sisters recently moved to Florida and that broke all of our hearts,” she said.
“I have two nieces, so my mom has three daughters and four granddaughters. But that’s OK. We have a boy cat.
“I always dreamed of having a family. We try to be that family. I feel very blessed to have a good marriage and two healthy kids.
“We try to celebrate that fact. We started dating as teens. We always wanted to have kids and be very close together.
“Kids are pulled in so many directions. Parents have to work late. We made sacrifices for me to stay at home, but it’s important for me. I want to raise our kids as a close-knit family and not be pushed in so many directions.
“I worry about these families. Kids are pushed into sports and traveling and not having family dinners. I don’t know how they survive.”
Like many parents, the Cains take time at the end of the day to spend quiet time with their children.
“We still lay down and read to them and tuck them into bed. I hope they will let me do that until they kick me out of bed.
“We used to think it would be nice to have a larger family, but we started late,” Cain said. “We are blessed to have the two that we have.
“I like that we are close and truly love spending time together. We know what’s important and put things into perspective. A lot of people don’t have that.
“We also appreciate the little things. My grandpa said if you let the small things bother you, the big things will kill you. So we think about the big picture, and worry about the things worth getting upset about.
“So what if you don’t have riches? It’s important to have each other.”
Email Debra Minor Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.