"You're the older year old." -Juliet, today. In the bathtub.
I just closed my eyes and prayed that I could remember what it was that Juliet said that I didn't want to forget. My life is filled with things I don't want to forget. I want to hear things like bathtub conversations and sear them into my brain like a signet seal in wax.
But I'm laundering. And cooking. And *cleaning. And this week is our last week of summer so we are all making sure we have all our books and a plan for school and I can feel my sanity slipping through my fingers. I feel ashamed to be doing the one thing I beg my children no to do: complain.
If I had encountered a person like myself, six kids, starting her 9th year of home school (10, if you count pre-K) I would look at myself and think "She totally knows what she's doing." But now, being that person, I can tell you with 100% certainty that I have NO idea what I'm doing and I'm just moving forward and praying that I don't make any huge mistakes and that my children learn enough to stave off the guilty conscience I fight to quiet so I can sleep at night.
You become numb to the pain. Dealing with the noise, chaos, and mess of being together all day every day is like a prima ballerina on pointe. Her toes may be bleeding and calloused, but she doesn't even feel it anymore. In a good way. The end result is shockingly beautiful.
Lately I've been trying to figure out how I became lazy and messy. And I realized. It's because my life is full of things I have to do. So when I have the chance to let something wait until later, I usually do. Because trying to stay on top of everything all the time is only possible if I don't sleep, don't eat, and spend 24 hours a day reminding my children to put away what they got out and clean up what they messed up.
And then there's the baby. Such a wonderful picture of God's graciousness to His children. Bringing everyone around such JOY. But growing up and making me realize I'm almost done with babying. I've been babying for nearly 14 years. I love babying. I want to baby forever. I know life will go on. But I've had a baby on my hip for a long time. I love the feeling. I am thankful for the babying.
I want to write more blogs. I want to have time to craft a balanced essay of deep thoughts and humor and comedic blurbs about life as a mom of six. But I feel like what used to be an ability to serve up steak has turned into leftover hamburger helper. (Which is like fresh hamburger helper only super more gross.) I am afraid my brain has been fried by my iPhone. That I have become a robot who charges her batteries by watching screens instead of eating good food or digesting God's Word.
And yet deep inside I believe the promise that "He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it." And somehow this continues to happen, despite myself. I want to teach my children the truth, the right parts of life. I know it's going to happen mostly by my example. By my example in the mundane tasks of laundry and food prep. I want to be an example of someone who knows I'm just a mist that vanishes. I am, after all, the older year old around here. Lord, help us all.
I love my kids so much it hurts inside. I am truly looking forward to a wonderful home school year and a daily grind that brings us closer to each other and makes us more like Jesus. Bring on the mess. And may grace abound.
After the Fourth of July weekend we headed (all 20 of us) to Bob's River Place. It's a little over an hour from Waldo, on the Suwannee River.
Bob is just a retired guy in his eighties who, over the years, has built up decks and wooden platforms on the river bank of his property and hanging rope swings off the huge live oaks from which you swing out into the river and let go. You pay to park and that's it. No lines, just people taking turns. Bob has no insurance (as the signs posted on his property attest) so you just swing at your own risk with no hope of a large settlement of you get hurt.
It was really fun. Like a red neck water park, complete with karaoke you sing in your bathing suit between death defying rope swings called "the demon" to name one.
My nephew Adam was in his element, swinging and dropping like crazy, the entire time we were there.
Bob also had a canal of sorts that he dug out and pumped water through as a swimming hole that was shallow and non-moving like the river. (Log roll right over Violet's head.)
Here is little Penelope on the easiest swing.
There was also a high dive (on the left) or, you could climb up into a tree and jump off that. Cash is letting go in this picture. Lincoln and Jackson are climbing up behind him.
Even though she couldn't swing on the ropes Juliet had a great time playing in the splash zone and floating down the river with me and her aunts.
And speaking of dreaming... That night after we got home I had weird dreams about college students floating through the air on ropes and landing in the
water. It was like when you are in a car accident and you keep living it over and over in your sleep. Weird. It didn't really hit me how dangerous it was until after we got home and my head hit the pillow. But a little risk was a great reward. We had an awesome fun day as a family. Thanks, Bob!