Today my neighbor told me she doesn't know how I do it . . . How I take care of five children all day without losing my mind. "Mine drive me crazy, and I only have two!" she said as she began on her way.
As I went on with my morning after that exchange, I carefully mused over how many other women (and men) have told me that same thing. How their one or two or three children drive them crazy, even though they love them. How they can't imagine spending all day with their children. (Am I the only one whose heart breaks when I hear that?) And I could only come up with one difference that applied in every instance:
I have consciously chosen to NOT distance myself from my children.
I don't work for money. They don't "go to" school. Up until a few months ago, Vern worked from home. It hasn't been easy. (Ha!) And I still have plenty of moments and melt-downs. (As do the kids.)
We have learned how to honestly like each other. Not just that familial love that only surfaces at big milestones and crises, but actually, honestly like one another. Every day, we're learning to treat each other with courtesy and kindness out of sheer necessity. We have been together.
Instead of my children learning to treat their teachers and other people's children with respect, they are learning it at home. Home. Where this stuff is supposed to be learnt. Where all of the work of learning these skills and Christ-like attributes will do them good in the things that matter most. Very few of us have good friends from high school living close by. It's hard to make new friends in this world of ours. But family is hard to get rid of. ;o)
I don't know what I'll do when they grow up and start off on their own . . . but I hope and pray that we'll have managed to spend enough time together that not only will we have a million more memories than most families, but the loving friendship that ties my children to me will be strong enough to keep them from disappearing into adulthood, leaving me behind. (And hopefully they'll come back from wherever they go upon fledging, and live somewhere nearby. ;o)