summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

doom and gloom or hope and joy?


Yesterday I frosted some cookies I had baked on Sunday...then I made a few more batches of cookie dough, gingerbread, and regular butter cut outs.
I like to do things all at the same time, so I was browning up burger and sausage for the lasagna for today, and making the butter chicken for yesterday's dinner while I made the cookie dough.  All alone in the kitchen, head spinning, getting things done.  Not too many years ago, I would simply long to be able to just get things done.  Get things done.  It was the unattainable, the running-in-deep-water sensation, the rocky road...a baby to nurse, a diaper or two to change, (I always got the two year old potty trained so I would only have a one year old in diapers when the newest baby arrived)...messes to attend to, and of course laundry and sweeping and and and.  I couldn't just waltz into the kitchen and make lots of stuff, although I actually did do that...but there wasn't any waltzing.  There was stepping over toys and a baby on the hip, clearing children out of the way before opening the oven, with some Little Tikes ride ons whipping by.  

The goal was never actually To Get Things Done.  It wasn't to Get Through The Day, either.  It was to be saved in all the trials of the day, to get oil in the lamp, to endure to the end, to learn patience, to live each day pleasing to God.  God wasn't interested in whether I got the house clean, but rather if I remained in love during all the challenges.  

Looking back, which I do like a foolish old woman these days, I see how absolutely rich and blessed those days were, with their stickiness and noise.  Sometimes it's too quiet here, and I wouldn't mind someone tugging to be picked up while I ran the mixer.  

So anyways, I have cookie dough in the 'fridge, and two lasagnas (one is for Margaret, today is her birthday, and I am going to deliver it to her so she doesn't have to make dinner tonight...).  We had our butter chicken and rice, no rice for me...and then I went to the activity club party, with presents and cookies and wow was it fun!

I wrapped up some simple things for the kids:  play dough sets, pop-rocks, little Christmas lights gum, and ring pops.  They made jingle bell necklaces, and colored and played with play dough, then ran around and played tag.  One of the moms gave each of the leaders a nice gift:  a mug and a Dunkin gift card.  Jonathan is one of the leaders for the boys' group, so he got one too, it was just so nice!

Anyway, everyone already knows that our president is a very sad man.  He's obviously told what to do, and does it, but this statement:

Merry Christmas, right?  

..."6 of which are unvaccinated", so 17 vaccinated...hmmm.  

My hope is that this new variant, which is by all accounts milder, will give widespread immunity, herd immunity, and we can be done with this sooner rather than later.  Is this medical advice, or official?  No, it's just me, blogging.  

Happy Birthday to my dear daughter Margaret, my Engine Engine #9, little Margie...she's 25 years old!
Miss Marge is an amazing mama, she works full time and takes care of the boys, Adrian is in college full time, plus he picks up jobs on the side, so it's busy for them...but they are such good parents, and such good friends to us.  

When Margaret was born, 25 years ago, it was a Sunday afternoon, back before cellphones and internet.  We called our church's kitchen phone, when she was born, and my sister answered, because all of our friends were gathered there for the Christmas celebration.  My sister cried, because Margaret is named after Paul's one sister (Margaret), and my only sister, she's Margaret Cheryl.  

So she was born on December 22, we came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve.  Our oldest child, Emily Anne, was 11, Abigail had just turned 10, Benjamin 8, Mariel Joy was 6, Joseph 5, Aaron 4, Molly Rose was 2, and Samuel had turned one in August, so he was 16 months.  So we had nine kids, Margaret was a tie-breaker baby, we had had four boys, four girls.  (Little did we know she was the first of five-girls-in-a-row in five years, then Robert, then Jonathan, then TWO MORE GIRLS, ha).  

I brought her home from the hospital, and of course we had to go to my brother's house that night, it was our Christmas tradition...the best night for the kids, running around with all of their cousins!  We had a friend staying with us to help, a teenager (she was a nice girl, but she was a teenager).  That afternoon, Mariel got sick to her stomach, so Paul stayed home with her, and off I went with the other eight kids, and our helper, to Uncle Bob's for Christmas Eve!

No resting up, no down time, just got back into it.  I'm sure I had a few naps here and there, but when I tell you that I was tired for approximately 25 years, I am not lying, ha.  

But Miss Margaret, what a doll baby, such a blessing.  She is such a personality, so strong and independent and capable and fun, and funny.  We aren't going to talk about the teenage years, but my goodness, she has a good heart!  (By the way, teenagers in a way can't help the way they are, they need to be dealt with with warm hands, goodness, patience...all the things we simply don't have enough of, hence our prayer life when we parent teens!!!)

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, but that doesn't mean I won't be back tomorrow...!


Anonymous said...

I was really struck by this sentence: "God wasn't interested in whether I got the house clean, but rather if I remained in love during all the challenges."

Boy! That is just what I needed to hear today - different challenges but a needed reminder to me to (try!) to remain in love while dealing with them.


Anonymous said...

I didn't have any babies in October, November, or December. I think that is interesting, with 13 births. My #10 son was born on January 1, though, the first baby born in our county that year. I didn't want the publicity, so we let the honor and the news article go to the second baby. Merry Christmas Della!

Joybells said...

Love the story about Margaret's birth! No rest for the mama, wow. I love her name, so old-fashioned. I had a great aunt named Margaret, a gracious red-haired lady who was always kind to us children. :) Happy birthday to your Margaret and many Christmas blessings to you all!

Joy from Salem

Anonymous said...

Hi! Just want to tell you that I LOVE your blog. Love your honesty and the way you write. We moved back to Central NY two years ago to be with family (my sons are rooted here; won't leave). It's nice to follow someone that lives in my "neighborhood" and is likeminded. Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

Mari said...

Happy Birthday to Margaret! Your post struck me because I was and am so similar. I was always trying to get things done too, and I also look back and realize how blessed those times were. I only had 3 kids though!
I'm with you in hoping the new variant brings more herd immunity!

Terri D said...

Happy birthday to your Margaret! I always say you are a wonder woman! You ARE! xo

Unknown said...

Good morning! Happy belated birthday to Margaret! She certainly sounds like an amazing and busy mum! Like her own mum I think. All those cookies look yummy 🤤 It sounds like you had a fun time at the children's Christmas party and the kids would have loved it too.

I wish you and your lovely family a very Merry Christmas 🎄

Marilyn from Canada 🇨🇦