You know you are a mother of a large brood of children when you are dealing with sending a child off to middle school camp and also getting your infant to sleep through the night. Such a varying degree of emotions and struggles....and joys. I consider myself blessed to have been able to savor infancy for nearly 13 years now. Most women get to enjoy little babies for only a few short years. I remember when Keith and I got married that I felt a huge let down when the ceremony was over because (Lord-willing) there was never going to be another wedding in my life again...for me at least. I knew that special memory was behind me....forever. But, it has been a delight to go around the trying to get pregnant, finding out I was pregnant, carrying a baby, delivering a baby, nursing a baby cycle six times over. I know when it is officially over that I will mourn it also. Not in a way that says I want to go back but in a way that says...that was the sweetest time of my life. Older, wiser women OFTEN remind me that I WILL one day miss all of this beautiful mess...as my friend Star calls it. (And I plan to steal the phrase because it is PERFECT.) Beautiful mess. Life as it should be...full of chaos and beauty simultaneously. Some days the chaos overwhelms the beauty and thankfully some days the beauty triumphs...to the glory of God. I am trying to savor it all and focus my gaze to the horizon where I imagine how quiet and empty my arms and home will be one day when all the little boys fly the nest.
Which brings me full circle to the irony of my big family...that oldest boy trying out his wings and going to camp for the first time...and last time...no, I am just kidding. In reality I know that this is the FIRST of MANY times he will try out his wings and take flight. Even if it is only a test flight...it is a glimpse of Keith's and my reality. Speaking of the daddy...I see him struggling to let that oldest bird out of the nest as well. We are in shock, I think, that he is even old enough to head out on his own like this. After all...it is oh so easy to remember that first born son coming into this world. To remember him wrapping us around his agenda of walking the floor with him until our forearms ached for mercy. Remembering him climbing out of his crib for the first time, learning to ride a bike, learning to read, etc. Those memories are fresher in a lot of ways than even our youngest children because it was all new to us. And here we are again going through something new with Grant. And this time...on this half of the climb...it is painful and special. He is a great kid. All of them are. Not one of them will leave this nest that we won't sigh a long sigh of both sadness and joy. Lord, thanks isn't enough expression of the gratitude my heart feels for loving these boys so much. Thank You for creating within me a heart that feels such heights of love and such depth of sorrow. One cannot exist without the other I know that full well.
Most days though...I am somewhere in the middle of the heights and the depths. Actually...most days I am in the trenches! I am fighting the war for my kids' hearts. I am fighting the war to keep my heart turned over to the Lord instead of my flesh. I am pushing against the world, battling upstream to be obedient. So, I think that though some day I WILL indeed miss the beautiful mess....I fully intend to enjoy the quiet. I intend to enjoy life with that partner from my youth. I look forward to growing old with a man who shares ALL of my fondest memories. It is so delightful to start a memory and see him finish it. It is priceless to love our children with exactly the same amount and degree of passion. I pray we never regret any of our days here. I pray we never say, "I wish we had enjoyed it more. I wish we had lightened up. I wish we had trusted the Lord more. I wish we had seen it all clearly." I fear we will say that. It seems impossible not to. But, I pray that does not define our years of parenting small children and teens. It would be nice to heed the advice given us by so many and to actually slow down the time and not wish it away. Heavy sigh...easier said than done. I also know that parenting never ends. Adult children are sometimes more difficult to parent than a child! Oh, may it not be so! But, alas sometimes it is. And I pray that Keith and I always have passions and callings to pursue. I want to always be challenged...and in the trenches for something. Hmmmm...I fear I am getting too old. My mind should not be so full of such heavy musings. I think I have always been this way though...thus the reason to write...a heart full of thoughts.
And with that...it is back to the trenches. I thought it might be nice to shower today! ~M.