Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sunrise, Sunset!

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday
When they were small?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears.

Cue the waterworks!  That song gets me every time!  My eldest daughter is in a production of Fiddler on the Roof, and I have been humming this song ever since she was cast in it.  
"One season following another, laden with happiness and tears"  --- how true for us as parents!  Each season flows into the next, each full of its own joys and angst.  And before long, the children are on the brink of moving out.  Swiftly flow the days, to be sure!

This is a beautiful time of motherhood for me.  I have a foot in just about all arenas of child-rearing. . .young children, intermediate, middle school and high school.  And it's fabulous.  I get to hold hands with some and hear exuberant proclamations of love, my face wet with sloppy kisses.   I get to enjoy gasping laughter and deep talks with my teenagers. In between those two extremes is everything else - earnest and heartfelt prayers at bedtime, probing questions about life and faith, and quick hugs before friends see.

When we started having children and knew we wanted a big family, sometimes I felt overwhelmed.  How would I mother five little children, I would think? How would I physically be able to do it? Then I would remember that they grow up, and I wouldn't have five three-year-olds at once.  And for me, precisely that has been an unexpected joy in parenting many children.  The spread of ages brings such a diversity to our home - something I had never thought of before we started our family.  The younger children shape the older ones, and the older ones nurture the younger ones.  It's a blessing to see unfold.
Tonight in a small group I was in, we all wrote brief notes of affirmation to our children.  I wrote a short note, then made an acrostic poem for each one with their names.  I shared them all with the kids when we got home, and in the brief few minutes we had during potty/teeth/jammies, my 9-year-old son wrote a poem for me and presented it to me at bedtime prayers.  Here it is:

M  ost awesome (except God)
O  utstandingly awesome
M  ost valuable (except God)

One season following another, laden with happiness and tears.  Indeed.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Get-away Car

We'll never make a good get-away car.  If you've just robbed a bank or committed some other heinous felony, please don't ask me and my entourage to hustle you away from the crime scene.  Because dollars to donuts, we'll get you arrested for sure.  A typical carline suburban-loading event goes something like this:

Me:  Hi boys!  Hi sweetie! Climb on over!  Get in!  Get in quickly!  We don't want to hold up the line!"

Kids: (yelling, pushing, shoving) "Get in!"  "Hurry up!" "It's my week for the front!" "MOVE it now!"  "Get your foot off my leg!" "Bye Josh!" "Ouch!" "Get your stuff off me!" "He won't move over!" "Bye Jack!"

Mixed in with this cacophony of beautiful music I hear questions and random excerpts of my children's days.  May I remind you, we are still in carline, and people are still behind me waiting to move forward.  So while there is pushing and yelling and tattling, I also have more than one person saying things like, "Mom, guess what happened today?" "Mom, did you go to the grocery today?" "Mom, can we get McDonald's for dinner?" "Mom, I have tons of homework - do we have plans tonight?"

And it's important to note, that the children are unable to move their bodies while they ask me these urgent questions.  So as we still sit in carline, I continue to try to urge the children to move into the burb and into their proper seats, while trying to smile pleasantly at the teacher loading my precious cargo.  

It's exhausting.  

So if you need to make a quick exit and were hoping we were the ones to provide it for you, look elsewhere.  I don't have time to help you get away.  I'm still sitting in carline.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Twenty Years!

September 8, 1995:  My handsome fiancĂ© took me out to dinner at a fabulous Italian place, and afterward got down on one knee, held out a beautiful ring, and asked me to be his wife.  I grinned madly, probably teared up, hugged him tightly, then remembered to answer.  It seemed too crazy to even have to answer such a question.  Of course I would marry him!  Of course I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him!  Of course, of course, of course! It was a resounding yes!!

September 8, 2015:  My handsome husband and I were driving home from a very long weekend away.  We were rejuvenated and rested and ready to head back into real life (which was going to hit us hard in the form of several commitments the moment we walked in the door).

20 years makes quite a difference!  What an adventure it has been - this marriage, this life!  Almost twenty years of wedded bliss with this man.  I look that back on the girl I was that day and smile.  I was so excited for all that was in front of me.  And here I am now - and so many of those dreams I had have been realized in full. . .a rich marriage, a comfortable home, five beautiful children, a wonderful church family, a rewarding teaching job - God's blessings are immense!

When that young girl said yes (eventually!) to that handsome young man, she had no idea really what was in store for her.  She had no idea that her husband would join her on such an amazing journey.  That he would encourage her to try new things, to be more adventurous.  She had no idea just how fulfilling sharing her life with him would be - parenting, ministry, family life.

September 8, 2045:  I hope on the 50th anniversary of our engagement we are still enjoying our adventure together.  I pray we will be surrounded by our family, which will have grown with sons- and daughters-in-law and many, many grandchildren.  Perhaps I'll think back to the young girl I was in 1995, and all the stages in between and smile.  And then I pray I'll hold the hand of my handsome husband and enjoy the adventure still ahead of us.