For the last thirty-six days I've lived in Colorado Springs with my husband, our daughter, Amy, her husband Kent and their four boys, and my mother-in-law, Eva. Our grandson, Canin, has graciously given us his bedroom and has been sleeping on a mattress on the playroom floor. He did say that where he was sleeping was more comfortable than his own bed, but I know he misses having his own room. If you didn't count, there are nine of us living here, which causes a lot of laundry and food consumption. And sometimes the walls close in and the house becomes smaller and smaller, so I go for a walk or sit in the sun for a few minutes. God has blessed me with beautiful fall weather with temps in the seventies. He knows my southern heart.
My home in Virginia where I live with my husband sits empty, my piano silent, the falling leaves littering my front yard (until my grandson, Trey, rakes them for me) and my home computer waits for me to return and finish my book, A Patch of Cotton. My life is on hold while I, my husband and my mother-in-law, do all the things that need to be done to keep Kent at work, Amy comfortable, and the boys in school. My sweet MOPS Moms in Virginia can relate to the things I am about to say. My grandsons are Heath, six and in the first grade, Jesse, seven and in the second grade, Isaac, ten and in the fifth grade and Canin, eighteen and in his first year of college.
Here are a few of the questions I've asked or statements I've made in the last thirty days that I probably haven't said on a daily basis in the last forty years! "Who peed on the toilet seat?" "Don't hit your brother." "Why are you crying?" "Whose shorts are these and why are they on the floor?" "I've told you and told you, don't wear your socks outside without your shoes." "If you don't bring the four jackets home today that you left at school there will be no playing games, watching TV, nothing. You will sit in a chair until bedtime (he brought the jackets home, score)." "Okay, please, one at a time, I can't hear all three of you at the same time." "Finish your dinner." "Yes, I know you want froot loops for breakfast... again." "Do you have homework?" "Yes, we'll dress up for Halloween and go to Trunk or Treat at the church." "Stop swinging that sword around, you're going to put someone's eye out with that thing." "I love you, see you in the morning." "Have a good day at school." "How was your day?"
And I have to admit a few times I've said, " oh sure, go ahead, I don't care," because the battle wasn't worth it. Parenting or grand-parenting is hard and repetitive, the same every day. It takes courage to raise children and even more courage today than it took all those years ago when I was raising my own children. These boys are bright, and good students, and were given glowing reports from their teachers to their dad last week. But, they are boys and require lots of love and attention, and sometimes I feel as though I need a whistle, like all referees, to stop the squabbling before a trip to the ER is necessary. They may fight among themselves, but they love each other and each one would quickly come to the defense of the other.
Since they are all boys my husband has the job of showers, because they won't let me anywhere near the bathroom! And he is the homework guy. We have each found our place in this home and family where we do our best work. Sometimes though, I wake up in the middle of the night and God and I have a heart to heart. It's hard not to ask why, or how, or when, so most of the time since He knows what I'm thinking I ask anyway. And His Spirit that lives in my heart assures me once again that He's got this. Whatever the this is, He's got it. Only He knows the why, the how and the when, so I take deep breaths while I listen to His voice and my husbands slumber and try to sleep again to have the energy to face the dawn that is so quickly coming. But I do believe we're exactly where we're supposed to be, even though it is not easy or pleasant, and sometimes just downright hard! Since we are blessed enough to have the type of jobs that allow us to leave our home for an extended time, we really don't know how long we will be here, we just know we will stay until we are no longer needed.