I live a mixed blessing. I thrive and regenerate when I am alone. But my house and my life are always full of people. The 16 who live here, plus my other kids and grandkids, friends, and sometimes people who literally wander in off the street! Our normal is chaotic on a good day, but it is generally organized chaos in the loosest sense of the words. When I suddenly have an extra 3-10 children here on an unplanned visit, all the cousins immediately begin to play. My grandkids barely greet me as they run to go find their best friends.
We don’t watch over them, partly for our own sanity and partly for the personal growth and development that occurs naturally when 10-15 cousins and friends can play together and work out problems without parents watching and judging every move. Besides, if anything goes wrong we will either hear it or someone will make sure we know about it!
Obviously, when you allow 15 or so kids under age 10 to play upstairs for hours without parents constantly shouting “Stop!” “No!” and “Don’t do that!” – the only words that we could possibly say if we were to witness their goings on – then something is bound to get broken or destroyed! I generally accept that as the consequence of free play. We don’t own much that is worth anything. And generally, the breakage is not malicious, but the result of 8–10 high energy boys and a few girls playing creatively and physically with every object that they can get their hands on.
Of course, I like it when they are playing. Sometimes, I get a little frustrated when I have to investigate the damage, which sometimes is just every single toy we own from every single container - even those in storage - piled onto the floor 2 feet high!
But the part that makes my weary bones come to life is what happens with my older children and their spouses. Even though there are times that the last thing I want is a house full of people – family or not – I LOVE to watch my older ones interact. I like watching them joke with each other. I smile when I see them sharing photos or parenting advice, or when one of my college kids shares what she has learned with her siblings. It gives me warm fuzzies when I find out that my adult children have all planned to meet at mom’s and dad’s house. I laugh when aunts fight over who gets to hold or play with their nieces and nephews first! It's funny to me that all the young men/husbands find themselves in the basement in front of the x-box bonding over some silly game for hours on ends.
And it’s super special to me because it says that while the blood bond is strong (we have lots of sibling groups), the bond that we have chosen to make with each other is equally as strong.
So, on the days when I’m weary (which is almost daily) and I wonder if what we are doing really matters to anyone, I am allowed the privilege of seeing my answer – live and in person.
And weary or not, I can continue for another day.
You have an awesome family! I can imagine how hard it is to be a parent of 20 children, especially some who are adopted. You should be a given a pat at your back for a job well done in building a happy family. You have the rare chance to choose your family, and you’ve succeeded in building a lovely one. Thanks for the share! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for your sweet words. We aren't always "happy" but we do live in joy. And some days, I wish I had any job but the one I have. Fortunately, when I'm my most weary, God gives me a glimpse into the bigger, deeper picture that is our story.ReplyDelete
I love this post, especially the part about your grown children. I have 20 grandchildren and 18 of them are not yet teens. But they all get along and play together. It is interesting to see which ones are the natural leaders and how the dynamics of play change if one of the family groups isn't with us. The moms and dads enjoy one another and spend many hours laughing and telling stories about children shenanigans.ReplyDelete