If you've read here at all, you know that Jim and I are all about family. We have 4 kids that are all grown up now...two are married...one will leave for college in the Fall (waaaah)...and we have Joshua here with us.
Jim and I were intentional with how we parented our kids. We wanted them to love Jesus most of all. My goal every day when they were little was to show them the love of Jesus, and to point them to Him. We wanted our kids to know that we acknowledged Him for every good thing.
And we trusted Him in the hard things.
Also, when they were little, we pretty much went everywhere as a herd. Jim and I had some date-nights, but, for the most part, when we went out...it was all 6 of us. We went to church together, we went out-to-eat together, we went to the baseball field, soccer field, football field, basketball court, pool, weight-room...you get the idea.
We wanted our children to know the importance of family.
We wanted our children to support each other.
You just never know what they'll do after you stop making them do that. I mean, we didn't FORCE them by saying, "YOU WILL SUPPORT YOUR SISTER," or whatever. They just knew that we all went. Unless there was a conflict.
Things changed when Holly left for college. She came home when she could, but it was different. And then when Logan left for college...that just left Joshua and Clark here to cheer for and support each other. And they did.
But, the kids came home when they could...for games and special things.
And now, Clark will leave for college, and it will be really different with just Jim and I and Joshua here. If I'm truthful, I'm not really looking forward to it. I am happy that Clark is going to college, and I am thrilled that he is going to OBU. I would never want to take that experience away from him. My feelings don't have as much to do with him, as they do with an era of my life being over. My baby will be in college.
MY BABY WILL BE IN COLLEGE.
How can this be possible?
I have loved my kids at every stage. I loved them when they were smushy babies and I loved them when they were demanding toddlers. I loved them when they weren't embarrassed to be with me...and later on when they were. I loved them when, in those rare and quiet times, they shared their hopes and dreams. And I loved them when they barely spoke AT ALL when they were at home...when they ate a lot and slept a lot.
I never, ever thought I could love them more. In fact, I was not looking forward to having young adults. I have loved being a Mom so much, and I felt like I was no longer going to be needed.
But, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my young-adult kids. They are so fun! But the thing I love the most is the bond they have with each other.
I mean, I could just cry just watching them when we are all together.
I'll have my phone out and try to get some random and candid shots of them talking, laughing and just hanging out...without them knowing that I'm doing it.
Logan and Morgan spent a few days with us last weekend, and then they spent all week in Texas with Morgan's family. They were coming home yesterday, so we planned on meeting them at a restaurant on their way...and inviting Jim's parents, so they could see each other, too.
We just put it out there to the kids: Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law...Clark and Faith. I said, "we are leaving here at 4, in order to meet them at 5...y'all are welcome to come, or not. If you want to ride with us, be here at 4. If you don't want to...that's fine, too."
They were all here at 4. And we all crammed into my Honda Pilot, and I think they would all BEG TO DIFFER WITH THE NICE PEOPLE AT HONDA, because the claim of "seating 8 comfortably?" Well, that's debatable.
And we had 7.
But, no one complained, which was like a miracle...and we made it down there and back safely.
The kids all couldn't wait to see each other. The way they seated us in the restaurant...we were all kind of separated. That tends to happen when you have a group of 11 people. But I watched them interact with each other, even leaving their spot at the table, to go over to a sibling.
I seriously thought my heart would burst.
I have several friends whose families cannot get together like my family did yesterday. The kids don't get along with each other, or with the parents, or with the "add-ons" (what Joshua calls the in-laws). It breaks my heart.
And, honestly, some of these people, by everything you can see and judge on the outside-looking-in...seemed like they raised their kids just like we did. I don't know.
What I DO know is that any good we've had or any good we've done...is HIM...and not us.
"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Philippians 1:6