This summer is one that I will look back on with a smile for the rest of my life.
A strong statement, you say? Indeed, it is.
This is the summer that I spent 5 ½ weeks away from home visiting family in Texas.
Yes, you read correctly…5 ½ weeks. It seems like a long time when I see it in writing, but while there, it really seemed quite short.
One might ask what induced me to spend 5 ½ weeks away from my Dear Mother and all that is familiar and march off to Texas.
I shall tell you now what it was: A new baby in the family.
Seven days after my sister and I arrived in Texas, our Cousin’s wife gave birth to her sixth baby boy. With two mothering sisters, six curious brothers, two doting cousins and two thrilled parents in the house, you can imagine that our new bundle of joy lacked none for love and attention.
They say that it is impossible to spoil an infant, but if it is, we managed it in the weeks after his birth.
I forgot to mention a small detail. The night that we arrived, the mommy-to-be went in to false labor and decided to drive 2 hours to her hospital, just in case. Well, if you were paying attention above, you will remember that baby did not arrive until day seven of our stay. They waited near the hospital for that entire time. Therefore, my sister and I watched the other seven children while Mommy and Daddy waited for Baby to make his grand appearance. Keeping that many children who we don’t know all that well (we haven’t seen them in a year) for such a long period of time was a bit intimidating at first, but we quickly enforced a routine and settled into what would be “normal” for the next several weeks.
I learned many things while I was there, though “learned” might not be the best choice of words…perhaps “realized in a whole new light” or “learned by heart” would be more accurate.
1) A baby is always a blessing.
2) Almost everyone disagrees with the above statement.
3) Disciplined children are happy children.
4) Routines are a homemaker’s best friend.
5) You can never hug or tell a child “I Love You” too many times.
6) The mother (or the mother stand in) sets the tune of the home
7) We can do no great tasks, only small tasks with much love. (yes, I stole that)
8) Children learn by example (“Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t fly)
9) If there is unity in the marriage, the children sense it.
10) If there is tension in the marriage, the children sense it.
11) Boys play rough but naturally want to protect their sisters (and cousins!) from other boys.
12) Children ask profound questions and are often curious about God.
13) There is a special, unbreakable bond in our family.
14) Patience is a virtue.
15) The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. Blessed be the name of the LORD!
The last one might seem like a strange thing to say that I learned-by-heart while I was away.
But it’s not odd at all when you consider that we had a much unexpected death in the family on this trip.
My cousin lost his only brother and gained his eighth child on the same day.
It was hard to know how to feel at first. Elated by the birth, or grieved by the death?
It was a hard time, but number 15 - the quote by Job – came very alive to me.
After we returned from the funeral, we slowly trickled back into routine and normalcy. The children wanted to do a unit study on the Middle Ages. So, we went to the library and got as many children’s books on the Middle Ages as we could find. They seemed to much enjoy it.
Unfortunately, we ran out of time and weren’t able to pull off a Medieval feast before we had to go back home. Perhaps next time…
The weeks flew by and as I sit at my computer now, I miss the children that, if I were there, would be flocking around me and climbing onto my lap asking “wacha doin?, what’s it say?” And the others who would interrupt asking for a “dink a wota” (drink of water). Still more, I miss hearing the baby softly cry, and running to pick him up and comfort him. If I were there now, I’d probably be returning to the computer after picking up the baby only to find 4 or 5 children gathered around the computer, editing this post with gibberish.
But alas, I am alone in our library, wondering when I will return to the wonderful land with children…