I just got a comment on here from someone who found this blog and knows my niece Claire, who is living in New Zealand. She knows her husband, and is in the same church we are, and also homeschools! What a small world! BTW, Claire and her husband are expecting a baby, my sister is going to have three....THREE new grandbabies in April and May of next year. I shall have to share them. Claire lives far far away, but my Evelyn has big plans to save up her money and go visit her. (if anyone wants to contact me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Today is a good day. See, my sister has seven daughters. They grew up all intertangled and woven in with my kids. We had them over a lot, and went bye-bye together all the time. We camped together, and went on adventures together. My sister's youngest is the same age as my 6th child, so......I still had baby after baby as hers grew up. And, her children grew up and were like additional older siblings to my little ones, as well as friends with my older ones. Anyway, my sister's oldest daughter Katie has two children. One is in school, and the other is two years old, and is here at our house for the day. He can read already, and knows all his planets. He is a bit apprehensive of the dogs, but they just sniff him and go lie down, so he is getting used to them. He is playing house with the little girls, and playing with Jonathan...they are absolutely loving having a little guy to play with.
My older son Joseph, and Kathryn and Suzanne will be holding down the fort for a few hours today when I bring my older brother Bob to a doctor's appointment.
And later this afternoon I might be going to Costco again to help Emily shop for the couples' weekend food.
And...the day after tomorrow, I am going to....Washington, D.C.!!! Paul and I, Mirielle and Evelyn, are going on a four day weekend to visit Samuel! He is liking his position in the Old Guard, so far. He is just beginning in the Army, and Benjamin out in Washington state, is almost done. Anyway, we are looking forward to spending some time with Sam, and visiting the monuments and museums, and Arlington cemetery. We are staying in a nice hotel that includes breakfast, and has a pool and a hot tub. :)
I have five teenagers, plus a 12 and a half year old. Sam is one of the teenagers, but at 19 he is in the Army and doesn't give me any trouble. The next five kids, as you well know, are girls. Five in a row, born in five years....Margaret is 17, Kathryn is 16, Evelyn is 15, Suzanne is 13, and Sonja K. is 12. (then there is Jon 10, Charlotte Claire 8, and Camille 6 (almost 7!)...poor Jon!)
Anyway. Those five girls in a row...they keep me on my toes. There are always at least two of them disagreeing on something. Who wore my shirt? Did you hear what she said about me? She wasted the good tea! She left my waterbottle in her room. She says things about my skirt being short, but did you see her shirt? Uh-huh, I say. I heard that. Be nice, I say. Don't return evil for evil, I say. Forgive and forget, I say. Be thankful you have sisters, I say. If you can learn to get along with your sisters here at home, just think how prepared you will be for life, I say. Put yourself in her shoes, I say. She didn't mean that like it sounded, I say. They are not always bickering, no, sometimes they are ganging up on me. Fooling around, and they are indeed funny. Mom's old, they say. Mom likes dinosaur music, they say. Did you do that back in the 1800's, they say. The other day one of them said to me, "I'm glad you are my mom and you understand us.". ooh, can you please say that again?:)
Anyway, they can certainly be challenging, but I absolutely love them. I love when the three who go to school come in the door from the bus, and the homeschooling ones are here, and the snack time begins. I love the energy and the vitality and the hope they have for the future. They can be difficult, but they each have a good soft heart, and all of them are quick to apologize to me if they are rude or disrespectful.
As for me, I am learning. I am learning to wait before speaking. To ask God for wisdom. To be kind in return, no matter if I perceive snottiness in them. I am learning when to stand firm and put my foot down, and when to let things go. These are things that can't be written down in an instruction manual, because there is no one-size-fits all. What works with one child doesn't necessarily work with another. Most of all, I am learning that I have sin, and that I can't parent properly when I am offended or impatient or angry. I can't just react and be all like, BECAUSE I SAID SO.
The goal here is to lead them to obedience, right? Obedience to God. Not to rule with an iron fist, so they rebel and sneak and can't wait to get away.
Recently I was talking to one of my teenagers about some disrespectful behavior. I let her know that it is not acceptable, and it makes me sad, and she knows better. She answered me, "I know. I want to be good." Okay!!! Score!!! That's what we're looking for! I don't want them to just be good, I want them to WANT to be good.
Anyway. I have to get moving here. Camille is doing work, Jonathan is playing with little Davian, and Charlotte Claire in in her own little world, singing away as she picks up in her room. I need to go pick up my brother and bring him to his appointment. (he can drive, but he hurt his back and needs surgery, pray for him! He is one of my best friends....he is the daddy of ten, and has lots of grandchildren, I lost count...12 or so.)