As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Throwback Thursday - On Children

It's so funny to me to look back and see that even when I only had three children, people were contstantly saying, "Wow, you must have your hands full!" And I did, I suppose.  But now that the number of children has doubled and that life is so far removed from me, I can't even imagine what it was like now . Those days were so hard and yet, there was grace.  I lived one day at a time because I didn't know anything else, and God blessed me richly.  We just returned home from a vacation with just our three big boys, and it was such a gift to spend time with each of them without the little ones around.  I love the little ones, but life can be consumed with them - which isn't a bad thing, but a little break every now and then helps you to realize that life won't always be this crazy.  One day, there will be time to listen to a quiet middle child's story in its entirety, or to toss a frisbee at a beach because you don't need to be stuck to a toddler who might disappear in an instant in a busy crowd.  One day there will be time to just be with older children and hear their thoughts, or watch their faces light up at the things that bring them joy.  And as a friend whose youngest starts high school in the fall shared with me yesterday, one day too there will be loneliness.  One day children will grow up, with go their seperate ways and begin their new lives, and I will find myself longing for the chaos and busyness, the joy that fills these crazy days.  As I continue on this path, my prayer is that God sustains me through the trials, and helps me not to take for granted all the goodness that is in the midst of it all - all my children together, under one roof, growing together with me.  Such blessed days, and I am truly grateful to be here with them.

On Children
First published August 20, 2008

As I sat up this morning, much earlier than I wanted to be up, still in my pj's and forcing my eyes to stay open, I watched my kids. Joseph and Timothy were running in circles and being silly, and Stephen, who was sitting with me, was squealing with delight at them. Such a simple moment brought so much joy to me, and I realized that despite my laziness (I've never been much of a morning person), there was nowhere I'd rather be, even in bed, than right where I was in that instant.

I'm sure every parent will agree that it's never more true than with children that the things that take the most work bring the most joy. Being a parent is the hardest thing I will ever do. People look at me, with my three boys so close in age and a fourth on the way (bringing my grand total to four kids under five in February) and say "oh my gosh, you must be so busy!" And it's true, there's always something on the go for me, and I rarely have a minute to myself - save for the evenings after they've all gone to bed, when I'm too tired to do anything but recuperate and save my energy for the next day when I have to get up and do it all again. But seeing them playing together like they were this morning, I know I'd never do it any differently. Because they are so close in age, they play together so well. And siblings can give each other what I never could - that person in their life who is totally devoted to them, who has nothing to do other than to spend time with them, making them happy. As much as I'd love to just be with them all the time, it's just not possible for me. But it is for them. When I brought my third baby home, I wasn't worried at all about how our youngest at the time would be, because I knew he had his older brother to look out for him, and that even though I would be consumed with the baby, life for Timothy and Joseph would go on mostly unchanged. And I know the same will be true when we bring home our new little one.

Having three (and soon to be four) children so close in age is definitely a ton of work, there's no denying that. And I have to admit that when I found out #4 was on the way, I was a bit overwhelmed at the thought of starting all over again. But I wouldn't change it for the world. God affirms me every day that this is the right thing for us, and that He has blessed our growing family and will give us everything we need. Just like an elastic that if pulled to its limit in one quick motion is snapped, but by going slowly and gradually stretches and adapts over time, I know that the holy spirit is tugging at me not harshly and all at once but gradually, allowing me the time and grace to adapt and grow with my life as I need to. And I know that as my children grow they will remain close, and will be there for each other when I can't be there for them. I am more convinced now than ever that there is no greater gift Jeff and I can give to our kids than the gift of their siblings. And that makes all the craziness worth it. I'm seeing now more than ever that it really is true - the things in life that take the most work really are the most rewarding.

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