Once upon a time there was a girl...
A girl who fell in love, and got married...and the babies started coming. The first baby was pretty much perfect. She was smart and healthy, being all chubby and blue-eyed, she was the kind of baby in the baby books. Her mama could have written a series of How To books, based on her parenting success with this first child...How To Potty Train In Just One Day!, for example. And of course Getting Your Infant To Sleep Through The Night, How To Have A Content Toddler On The Beach...a whole slew of books she could have written!
Then came baby #2, who was a bit more challenging. This baby didn't settle down easily, and required much more time and patience. Then baby #3 came after a 12 week miscarriage in between, so he was a joy and blessing...and also a handful!
Now this mama had Emily, Abigail, and Benjamin. Enough children for any sane person.
Ben was one when Mirielle was born, then two and a half when Joseph joined the family....the family who lived in a mobile home. It was a nice one, it was brand spankin' new when they moved in, and on a huge treed lot in the village, with a wood play structure, and a garden....but it was getting tight. So this family decided to build a huge house.
The house was framed that summer when Joseph was a newborn baby...then for pretty much the first year of Joseph's life, that mama was a single mama. That daddy would go straight to the building site from work every night, and of course on Saturdays. The mama got used to doing everything her own way, and then on Sundays, Daddy had different ideas, so it was interesting.
They moved into their new house, then were joined by #6, Aaron...then the next year, #7 Mali Rose, then the next year, #8 Samuel James...the mama was thirty years old, and had 8 kids.
More than enough kids for any sane person, ha. But mama and daddy trusted that God knew exactly what they needed, and trusted Him with all of their hearts.
This wasn't always easy. There were sleepless nights, and trips to the E.R., and times when infants and toddlers were sick, and school children still needed clean clothes and homework checked...there were school events that this mama faked her way through, being a day late and a dollar short, and all.
Anyway...the fabulous thirties were busy years, as the older ones grew up, and the babies still came. Margaret, #9, came a the next year after Samuel, then #10 Kathryn 15 months later. Evelyn #11 came the following summer, then #12 Suzanne 17 months later. Sonja K, #13, came along just 14 months after Suze, then baby Robert was born, stillborn, a year later. He was followed by #14 Jonathan Robert, who was really #15, 10 and a half months after Robert's "birth". This mama had a few very sad miscarriages, then Miss Charlotte Claire was born two years after Jonathan. And then Miss Camille, last but not least, 18 months later.
There wasn't time for leisure, these years. Sleeping in, ha. I would read books into the night sometimes, and wake up exhausted, but I had to! Laundry piled on the couch, thus our resident Couch Monster, who haunted us in different shapes and forms for years, now just a memory, as the Laundry Mountain at the door of the laundry room. I kept the floors swept and cleaned because of a strong aversion to crumbs and stickiness, but this wasn't easy either, with constantly having a nursing baby and/or being big and pregnant.
I didn't make good food choices, and I blame it mostly on fatigue, and morning sickness. I only wanted bland carbs. Bagels, Cheerios, oatmeal. I never craved salads or meats, or fresh veggies or fruits. I wanted crackers and cookies. So many afternoons, I consoled my tired self, distraught and unbelieving that another opportunity for a nap for my poor tired body was foiled by the circumstances of life, like a small baby not sleeping at the same time as the toddlers, or maybe an afternoon appointment, or even phone calls or visitors...so my consolation was maybe a stack of cookies with my coffee, wake myself up, ha.
I do regret those choices, but time only goes one way, and it ain't backwards. I do not regret, however, the many choices I made as far as going on adventures and leaving the house, with it's many messes, behind.
These days I am still busy, with driving kids places and shopping and appointments and homeschooling the three youngest, and taking care of the doggies, and doing volunteer stuff for church...but I am still reeling from the days of REAL busyness. I still revel in sitting here and finishing a whole cup of coffee without having to jump up and break up a toddler fight or get someone's hot little hands out of the sugar bowl. I remember sitting down with high hopes, then seriously, someone needed to be wiped, or there was a diaper to be changed.
But still, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I would go back in time and hug all those babies and kids, and tell them they meant the world to me.
But time still only goes one way.
And this is why I rejoice at our time of Cabin in the Woods. Because all 16 of these amazing kids of mine will be there! The way the math works is this: The toil and tears that Paul and I suffered in the raising of them somehow got erased, and blessings were multiplied and added on to, so that now we are completely and overwhelmingly filled with awe at how we got so lucky.
Practical questions about the cabin...how big is it? There are two small bedrooms upstairs, a new half bath this year, and a huge dorm room with lots of beds and bunk beds. Downstairs is a bedroom with a queen sized bed, and bunk beds, plus a big living room/dining room with a fireplace, woodstove, and a couch in case anyone wants to sleep there. Then a screened in porch with another couch, a picnic table, and lots of chairs. There are two bathrooms downstairs. Plus an outbuilding, The Shed, with a bed or two. We do bump elbows, and if everyone leaves phone chargers and jackets and purses and backpacks around, it gets cluttered fast, and there are quite a few pairs of shoes near the door. We take turns making the diners and breakfasts, and lunches are usually snacks.
I have a good friend looking after the doggies, I hope they behave themselves. I wish the cabin allowed them...but then it will be nice not to have to get up whenever Duke decides he misses me, which was 6:14 on this fine Saturday morning....