Written October 8, 1991….
There’s a dirty pink wagon in the driveway. Turned-over small chairs sprawl around the wooden front porch, muddy shoes sit on the railing, drying precariously. A hammock blocks the way to the front door. Just inside, books are scattered under the bookcase and four cheap beanbag chairs are tumbled up together. On the dining table a farmhouse puzzle sits unfinished and on the couch a 3 ft. plastic doll stands at attention.
Under the picture window, light streams through fingerprints onto the colored paper-glue-scissors mess on the carpet. I see the work of art, the child-made sign that is taped to the wall by the phone, “Hi, Mom! We love you!”
I hear noises overhead. I retrieve dropped hair bows and abandoned sweaters on my way up the stairs to investigate. Greetings and hugs are passed around, then I head for the kitchen and cookbook and my nightly chores. The counters and floor I had left bare are now covered with popcorn kernels and grape-colored drips.
Life with children, I usually love it. The contagious laughter and singing and creative games. The wonder in their eyes as they learn, the peace on their faces as they sleep, and the mercy in their forgiving hearts.
Of course, I weary of repeated messes and repeated frustrations and repeated giving up what I want to do. Sometimes an orderly house is inordinately important to me. I can get cranky and even mean towards my girls, but I thank God for His grace and the life-joy He gives me through them. My house will never be the same since my children moved in. And neither will I.
Today, 30 years later….
We sorta started a new tradition (if three times in a row counts): Fall Friday night cookouts at Monkey Bottoms with Little Pookie and our Little Prince, And their parents, of course. Yesterday Jake and I drove up our street to the picnic area, unloaded the firewood and lawnchairs and food and drinks, then quickly returned it all to the van because of rain.
So we went home and had a ‘cookin’. After a quick and mobile meal around the fireplace, I went upstairs with the kiddoes to make a ‘house’ with pillows, chairs, and a big sheet, which took all of six minutes. Then we looked around the craft shelf and played with Styrofoam packing peanuts. Lastly, we rigged up a rope-and-basket and lowered toys down the stairwell to our visiting friend, then hauled up the surprises she put in. One storybook read and they left. It was a short, but memorable ‘cookin’, with lots to pick up and clean afterwards and I loved doing it.
Thursday morning Jake and I had taken the two littles to Sanctuary Lake and we loved following them through the woods, helping them collect leaves and sticks and stones. Little Prince is enamored with his pockets, not for saving rocks but for his hands. He’s so cute, walking around his little hands stuck in his mini-pockets.
The only downer was when I thought wistfully about our grandgirls in Japan and Spain, realizing I’ve never made Montreat Fall memories with them.
I am glad I came across that 1999 journal piece. Children grow so fast. May I never take it for granted that for many years I have been, and still am, a super-blessed woman to have children in my life.
Thank You, thank You, thank You, dear Lord, for children.
P.S. I don’t much care for the goblin-and-graveyard side of Halloween, but I am happy to celebrate children and enjoy their joy with candy and costumes. I plan to dress up as Noah’s wife and join in the fun. :o)