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

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mom of Big Kids

"At least some of them are in school." It's a common response I get to people finding out the number of children I have.  They figure that if I'm going to live this crazy life of having so many children, at least I get a break when they're at school for the day.  So you can imagine the surprise when I go to tell them that we home school, and that all the kids are with me all day.  There's no relief in sight for me!

But really, there is quite a bit of relief in having my big kids home.  I think often back to the time when all of my children were littles, and everything diverted to me.  Those were the difficult days.  I remember very distinctly a couple of years ago feeling like I was at the peak of chaos, and knowing (because I had seen other families live through this) that in a few years things wouldn't be so difficult.  That big kids could pitch in, and family life would run more like a team - instead of Mom doing everything for everyone.  This is where I'm at now.  I'm not saying everyone is perfect - far from it.  It still takes an insane amount of effort to make sure that everyone does what they're supposed to, and they are far from willing on the best of days.  But still, the running of this household is a family effort, and that has eased this burden tremendously.

And even more than that, I think, is the contribution my big kids make to the household just by being who they are.  As they grow older I relate to them differently.  Life isn't all about about discipline, molding and shaping (though a large part of it still is).  But they are starting to think for themselves, and contribute in their own ways.  They have conversations with me, make jokes (and get the jokes I make). They have serious thoughts and dreams they want to talk about, things they like that they want to share.  And in a lot of ways they balance out the neediness of their younger brothers and sisters by, well, just not being so needy.  A chief complaint of stay-at-home Moms is the lack of adult companionship, and I so get it!  But in a lot of ways, though they are not adults, the bigger kids fill this void for me.  Don't get me wrong, I love life with my littles too.  But it can be all-consuming, and having older kids around all day definitely takes the edge off what would otherwise be a pretty chaotic life.

As they grow more and more in independence, I find myself marveling at who God has created them to be, and how slowly each one of them is revealed.  Like a grand artist working in brush strokes, just when I think the masterpiece is near completion He adds a little more depth.  I know these works will continue to unfold before my eyes, and it is my great joy to spend the days beholding this artistry.  When I really think about it I don't know what I would do without my big kids, and really I'm glad I'm able to have them home with me.  I know that not everyone is able to do what I'm doing, and I'm grateful for the gift of having a front-row seat during these very important childhood years.  I don't need a break - far from it.  In reality, it's the gift of their presence that helps keep me firmly grounded.

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