Thursday, January 31, 2013

Celebrate Everything

It has not gone without my knowing how generous God has been to me and my family.

A couple weeks ago, as I traded in a buck for a baby tooth, and I realized how peculiar the whole negotiation was.

I was still playing tooth fairy even though I now play an even bigger role...Grandmother...or MayMay as my preference may be.
How strange it felt.

Months ago, across a room, I heard a friend comment how nicely spaced my children were. That I would go directly from having an elementary "child" in my home to having grandbabies coming through my front door. There would never be a "lull" time in our home or an empty-nest transition. Life would simply flow from one extreme into another.
 She is a friend with a heart for such things as family and children, much like my own heart, so it was said as a benediction.

How could she have prophesized what was mere months away?

Some women in their forties would probably sigh with pity for me.
"She'll never have a moment's break."
"Never any time to herself."

They will never know how wrong they are; I pity their assumptions even as I wrap myself in the cloak of an infant's blanket.

I used to love being alone. With only an older brother very different from myself, I had years of being alone to read and write and daydream. Come to think of it, I had 20 years, and then I got married.

And the two most precious things in the world to me, the things that define my soul, became one. The sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of life. Soon-to-be 27 years of one; 25 of the other.

I used to daydream about living in a large family; I believe I had 17 brothers and sisters.
And I played pretend school as well.
How funny that I ended up with 5 children of my own and homeschooling them in a red-brick house!

I grew up and married and we began our family and I was always lured close to home.
Even now, my main retreat is home.
We are often out and about doing things that normal families, ballet, nursing home visits, eating out, traveling, various clubs, 4-H, classes, and work...and then we come home.

And the house is full.

Full of cuddles and sweet Sunday naps on sofas (all 5 sofas).

And sleepy bed buddies.

And bitty baby boy socks and baby blankets and rocking chairs.

Possibly too much laundry and two many socks.

I live a very strange lifestyle compared to 21st century America.
I am a stay-at-home mom raising more than the status quo. I have had children in college, high school, junior high, and elementary all at the same time.
Now one is married, one is soon-to-be-married, one is newly engaged, second grandbaby is on his/her way, I have only one teenager left at home, and I'm still playing tooth fairy.

And all 5 still live at home!

Which, I'm afraid, makes people cringe in horror, shake their heads in disbelief, and analyze where our parenting failed.

{For those simply visiting here for the first time, let me be clear...our house has four bedrooms, our oldest son bought the house next door which has an apartment attached to it, and we have a little cabin out back. It's sort of like the old woman who lived in a shoe but we aren't as crowded as that little ol' lady.} 

And yet...I have the dream I only daydreamed as a young child.

The door is always ajar. The storm door creaks constantly.
The grandbaby has many arms to hold him.

Someone always has an extra dollar in their pocket when the tooth fairy doesn't.
There are now four girls besides myself who cook and the youngest can make a mean omelet and an excellent pot of mac and cheese. ;-)
There are rows of rubber boots standing at doorways as we trek across the yard to each others homes.
Coffee pots are carried over too.
There always an extra washer and dryer when ours (or theirs) is on the blink.
Late nights find us baking brownies and talking around the kitchen table.
My daughter called me a sofa hoarder (I only have 5 total) but the truth is, that when everyone drifts over and a good movie or sporting event is on, everyone has a place to reside.

This is my reality.

And I celebrate it.
I pray that I celebrate it well.

I also know that the reality is that one day this house won't be this full.
The thought saddens me.
Friends tell me that you get to the age where you don't want all the traffic and commotion and comings and goings.
The elderly tell me that a time comes when empty spaces are nice.
I guess...

But I'm sure it only gets to that point when you allow yourself to experience it.

Grandparents express regret that their children and grandchildren never go to visit them...grandparents who prefer order to Oreos...privacy to playtime...and television to toddlers.
Not that it isn't hard sometimes, tiresome, yes, exhausting even.
I've raised 5, remember?
And it isn't that we don't all need our own space and quiet time and that our hospitality should never be abused or even that we should not take refuge when our health demands it or that some of us are not created for the demands of many.
That's not what I'm saying, least I be misunderstood in my brand-new role of MayMay.
I just dare myself to fall into the trap of thinking I'm "entitled" to anything other than what God has required me to do at this very moment.

The homes that make me sad are the homes where children are expected to behave as adults, where discipline overshadows creativity, where noises are not tolerated, and where children become second to our everything the material world offers us.

I have gone out of my comfort zone to make sure our house is not one of those.

This is my reality.

The door is always ajar.
A full pantry is a wonderful place to play hide and seek and treats abound.
A loooong, twisting hallway is a perfect place to skate and slide in socks.
Furniture is permitted to be pushed aside freeing the large living area for free-style dancing.

Play-doh, as a parasite, on carpet is not forbidden.
Little socks and lost socks are a sign that there are little feet to fill them.
Breakable objects are not as valuable as the heart that might accidently break it.
The coffee pot is permanently stained.

This is my reality.

I pray the pantry is always full, lost socks are found in the hallway and under beds, play-doh is always underfoot, and that the coffee pot remains stained.

I pray I celebrate it.
I pray I celebrate every part of it.
I pray I celebrate it well.


  1. Wow !!!!! I needed to hear this today. What an inspiration you are to me :)

  2. You have SO much to celebrate. The best part is that you know it. Thanks, Cay!

  3. How absolutely beautiful.
    The sentiment and the way you express it.
    Thank you Cay.


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