I'm hoping to catch up over the next few days on the fun our family has had this fall. We had our first camping trip since Becca was Bree's age, started practice for our church's Christmas program and our homeschool co-op, small group, a new Bible study, friends, family.... I realize that a lot of people do a whole lot more, but I'm feeling like my cup is running over. Mostly in a good way, although the clutter that occasionally spills off the table tops reminds me when my home is getting neglected.
I'm loving this season of life. Tyler is getting so big. He's ready to "be a man". (his words) But every now and then I still get to wrap him up in my arms and he'll squeeze back for a few minutes. I'm treasuring those hugs. The sitting and chatting and listening to his giggle. It's rough some days. Trying to find that line between making most of my growing boy's decisions and letting him begin to make decisions. I hear from parents all around me "it only gets harder." So I'm holding on, savoring, learning, listening. In my short nine years of being someone's mom the only things I've learned for sure is to love hard, hold on tight and pray for the strength to let go when I feel the Lord's nudge. It goes too fast.
Sitting with Breeley snuggled in my arms reminds me of this. We had just moved into this house when Ty was her age. Becca came soon after. Bree is such a mix of the two of them as babies. Bree reminded us so much of Becca as a baby. Snuggly, good sleeper, adapted easily to a variety of sleeping arrangements, loved her blanket, sucked her thumb. When one hit, we got a glimpse of a whole 'nother child residing in Bree's little body. Now I feel like I'm re-raising Tyler...with lots of older siblings thrown in the mix. I'll suffice it to say, she lets her needs be known. Quickly, loudly, repeatedly. She is now "that child" in the church nursery. "Oh, you're Breeley's mom." It's always funny to hear that from new people at church. I'm so glad my skin has gotten thicker in regards to remarks about my children. Bree needs to be loud many days for me to hear her over the clamoring. Clamoring so loud that it makes me wonder what the neighbors think of us. I love watching my children's personalities unfold year by year.
Hope is full of personality, spunk, and sass. She makes us laugh. Even Doug can't always keep a straight face when the situation calls for it with her. The other night at dinner she was refusing to eat what was served. I have never been able to keep a straight face with my kids. Never. It drives my patient husband crazy . I can't blame him. It's got to be beyond frustrating when your backup is laughing so hard tears are running down her face. So I normally leave. But this night at dinner, Hope came up with a response so quick, so funny even Doug was rolling. I think I need to pray for more wisdom here. :)
Adding a cat to our home recently has created another set of challenges. From finding litter sprinkled on the bathroom floor and beyond (gag) by chubby fingers (gag, gag, gag). To the scratches on hands, faces, legs to the ones who should know better than pester but still don't resist. To the dog and cat fights that are happening more and more regularly around here. Some days I wonder if there wasn't a better solution to the mice than the cat. And yes, we tried everything. My husband was staying up at night to shoot them with a BB gun because we could not catch them in traps. One mouse even pulled itself off a glue trap leaving all it's belly fur behind. I like to think of it as a free wax job.
When my kids are grown I wonder what they will take away from this crazy house? What will the consider worth passing on to their kids? What will they find that needs to be purged? Talking to my dad this morning reminded me of the great heritage we will pass on to our children. I want to pass on a heritage of love: for the Lord, for his kingdom, for his people and the people who have yet to become his. I pray this is the heritage I will leave: passion for God and the things that matter most to him. The responsibility of raising my children in a way that honors and pleases God is daunting, overwhelming and solemn. Yet I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am touched by lives that will never be the same because their path of parenthood was different. It was much to brief. The joy of seeing their children walk, talk, or take their first breath was not theirs to treasure. So I am reminded to treasure the moments and parent with purpose. As I try to teach them the things of God, my children remind me to treasure my faith, and celebrate it. As I was typing this post they came in excited, overflowing with excitement really, because they had made something out in the backyard: two left over pieces of wood and a jump rope, twined together to make a cross. And I was reminded by my little ones of the words from Psalms:
"Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me." Psalm 51:10 &12