Is anyone tired yet? I am tired but mostly, blissfully so. (Only a few teary, over-whelmed moments--but then isn't that a part of the tension of family life and then trusting the Lord?) Sarah, my 27 year old daughter, is home now for 2 weeks, before she goes to Oxford in England. She is filled to the brim with newly espoused ideals and thoughts. Joy, 16, is in Sense and Sensibility for 12 performances this season, which means late nights and an exhausted body and lots of running around. Joel, 25, is home and Nate comes very soon. Food will be a constant--with one boy at 6’3 and the other 6’5”, it takes a whole lot of groceries and cooking to fill them up--which also means more dishes.....arrggghhhh!
I feel a little bit like I am riding a wild stallion and holding on for dear life, at times. Joel, my 25 year old, once jokingly said, "You know our family is like one of those loud Jewish intellectual families in Fiddler on the Roof who had an opinion on everything and has to discuss everything from the mundane to the sublime. Or maybe it is a fiery Irish family with abundance of spunk or a rousing, dancing Greek family, or Italians eating feasts chattering and, oh, well, Mom, you get the picture!" It wears me out just to contemplate it--but I did know what he meant--there is not much quiet or calm about us when we are all together!
This “loud” image also grew not only in my mind. While Nate practiced his drums, Joel was composing piano tunes in our living room on my childhood piano, in the midst of Clay trying to talk to me about his day, Joy’s friends came over and laughed and giggled and ate and made messes. When they left, Nate and Joy were practicing singing to tape tracks--over and over and over and did I say, again, over?. (all while the dog barked intermittently at the fox outside and and growled and wrestled with the boys on the floor.) And Sarah, coming out of her bedroom, said, “Can anyone ever hope to get a nap around here?
I think there is an illusion for most moms, that some day, some future day, when my kids grow up, things will become calmer, easier, less demanding. Perhaps we think having a family where the life of God is real and love is sprinkled all around and great ideas flow and people are always eating or drinking--that somehow it will be calm, in order and quiet--or that somehow the work load will become lighter or that maybe if I ever get my act together, there will be peace and order, and more time to focus on myself.
Somehow I thought that my training would transform my children into something supernatural. But though, all have matured, and I am so blessed that they love us and love the Lord, all are very much the same and have the same personality issues and antics. The mix of all of us together is dramatic--never a dull moment.
My role as a mother has grown with my children, but it has never lessened.
After all these years, I have realized that my years have always been busy. I am in more demand as a mom than ever, because my children still need my voice and advice and love and time as they enter into a very challenging world.
Yet, now, when my house is full of the life of all of us together, my heart is filled. We are together. This is the family where I belong. We have shared memories, same tastes in movies, books, traditions--years invested --invisible chords that tie our hearts together. We care about one another in ways that no one else in the world cares.
The ride is still an adventure, but somewhere along the way, I learned to hang on and now I am even enjoying the ride.
Last night as I tucked Joy into bed, she commented, "Our family can be overwhelming, Mom! But I am so glad that everyone is here. I would rather have the wildness, the messes, the noise with all of us together and loving each other, than for it to always be calm with no one here to share life with! This is really going to be the best Christmas!”
And so my wish to you is, that you will be able to enjoy the ride, the journey, the days--even if it is not picture perfect, today, this year, and remember that the adventure is worth the ride.