To my dear children. Many of you aren't really children anymore, to the rest of the world anyway. I would just like to issue my annual Christmas disclaimer: Life isn't fair. Perhaps your sister got nine presents and you only got six. That in no way reflects my affection for one child over another, but rather my scatterbrain-ness. I started out this year with a list in a blue notebook, which I diligently wrote down each and everything I bought and wrapped for all of you, but...has anyone seen a blue notebook? Yeah. So by the time I was like 2/3's done wrapping, I was winging it. Hmm, I would think, who should I give this to? Hmm, did I already give Mali one of these? Oh well, if I did, she can trade with someone.
Paul thinks I buy too many gifts. Perhaps I do. But perhaps there is a reason for it. I am one person. But I am SIXTEEN people's mom. I only had six siblings, and I know what it was like to have my mother's attention, and my mother was an extremely unselfish woman. She lived to listen to others, and to always be there for them. She had no other interests in life. She simply came last, she dropped everything to help anyone who needed it, if she possibly could. Anyway, my kids are growing up. I don't change diapers anymore (after like 26 years of always at least one in diapers, phew!), but there are still needs. You kids need attention. My FULL attention. Sometimes I will be talking to one, and another of you will come along and start Momming, and I will be torn...there is only one me. I never feel I give enough of me. But I try. It is something I pray for continuously, to have a listening ear, and to be able to take the time to be here for you guys. Seriously, if Emily has a day off from work and wants me to go out and about with here, of course I will go! Yeah, there will be housework left undone. But what is truly important?
Anyway, this was supposed to be a love letter to you kids, not a rationalization of why I buy too many presents to soothe my guilt at not being able to give you as much attention as I would like to.
I do love each and every one of you.
I love the way you are all so thrilled that Benjamin will be home. He hasn't always been the best brother to some of you, but none of that matters, you have forgiven him, and you remember the good times and appreciate and respect him, with no grudges.
One thing I am thankful for is that you see me as an equal, not some Because I Said So mom, to be feared and revered. You tell me like it is, and because of your honesty (mostly Aaron:)), I have been able to see they way I would get so upset about messes and housework, and I have been much better at stopping those angry rants before they start. I hated it when Aaron would say, "Mom, don't start." Totally hated it. It was disrespectful, and dang it, it was the truth, and we all know that the truth hurts. But it woke me up.
My only goal in life for you guys is that you get your own connections to God, and most of you have done that. I really work on looking past your stubborn natures, and seeing how good your hearts are. Because they ARE good. When a child apologizes to a sibling without being commanded to by their mother, that child has a good heart. You kids might be door slammers and feet stompers, but growing up in this house can be trying, to say the least. It is a work in progress, and God certainly knew what He was doing, putting all of us together here, all of us who are so different, so opinionated, so strong, so right. He must have a sense of humor. Yet, in it all, we have realized that there is a salvation to partake of, a salvation that brings oneness that has nothing to do with having the same opinion about a matter.
Peace and oneness, goodness and harmony, Jesus came to earth with the Good News. The fact that we can attain to this in our own lives is more valuable than all the money in the world. So my dear children, please know that your very existence is in itself a gift. From God, and from dad and I. God was good to us. He really was. He blessed us with all of you guys. For us, it wasn't just a walk in the park, to receive you. As much as I love me some babies, it was still not easy. I was tired, and people thought I was crazy. Or they thought it was easier for me than it would be for them. Anyway, one of the hardest things for me was the challenge of taking the best care possible of each individual child, and feeling like I could never do enough for you. But you know, for whatever you may have lacked in having my full attention day in day out, I take comfort that you have one another. And in my heart, I am totally certain that accepting you all as the gifts from God that you are, was the right thing to do, although honestly, a few times along the way, I did wonder what the heck we were doing.
Anyway, kids, when you open your presents, remember this: If I could have gotten you more, I would have. I want to give you the world. I want to spoil you rotten. Just because there are alot of you doesn't mean you all can't have nice things. I know we already have lots of dolls, the little girls need new dolls for Christmas. And maybe I forgot to get you something you hinted to me like ten times that you wanted, but....I would have if I remembered. I am not perfect. I am just a person, a person who happened to be blessed so magnificently and wondrously and amazingly. You all know how I am. I would LOVE to be more organized, and always know where the tape is, but again, God must have a sense of humor.
Dad and I are going away this weekend, he surprised me with a weekend away! Shh, don't tell him, but it is kind of hard to leave. Not because I don't want to spend time with him, because you all know I love love love your daddy, but because I know fun things will be going on here and I don't want to miss it all. You guys be good and keep the house at least as clean as it is, or better yet, clean it more, so it will be nice for Christmas. Do your jobs on the job list, and don't nag each other about it. Keep positive, and enjoy your weekend-long party. I am going to Walmart this morning for pizza dough, you can make pizza on Saturday night. Remember that Sunday is Margaret's 17th birthday, so don't make her do any work on Sunday. She won't eat cake, maybe we should serve a birthday salad or something.
Anyway. Time to take Jon to Walmart, his glasses have been been broken for a while and need to be repaired. This afternoon we are off to...I don't know, that part is still a surprise.
You can all text me if you need me for anything, but honestly, if you are just looking for the scissors or want to tell me that Evelyn just yelled at Margaret, try to work it out. And, the pizza rolls are for Christmas but if you really want some, you can have some, but don't eat all of them please. And, if you want to make a batch of NeverFail Fudge, the recipe is on the back of the Fluff container.