I don’t really recall having seven kids. Or eight kids. There were six. And I was pretty on top of things. And then . . . there were nine. And if some hollow existed in that transition that might have allowed for adjusting or for shifting and carving out new spaces to fit in the things I’d kept up on with the addition of each kid up until six . . . well . . . I leapt over it too quickly to notice or take advantage.
Partly I joke of course. And partly I exaggerate. I often feel pleased and grateful and proud with how smoothly things run around here. And I recognize how blessed I am to be able to “run and not be weary” – to be able to work hard and see what tasks need done. I manage a lot quite well. But I am someone who, particularly since introducing children into my life, thrives on order and simplicity and organization. Those things give me satisfaction and such a sense of calm and relief. My mind and soul feel more orderly when things are in their place and nothing simply has to wait (potentially for years). The fact that I can’t have order and cleanliness in the degree I long for at the moment very often bears down on me and sets me to crying. I keep trying to learn or see because I feel like the Lord is teaching me something here – that I am not simply failing (as I often feel) rather, somehow, it is actually good for my growth and development to experience this and to not be able to set life as tidily around me as I long to. (When I get most agitated I feel Him comfort me with thoughts of “Do what you can and leave the rest to Me.” and oddly it does comfort me – which makes me chuckle a little as I don’t think He plans to come clean out my garage, organize my kitchen cupboards, or talk my kids into getting rid of the 8 billion stuffed animals they cling to.)
But, the point of all of that was actually to say: despite the imperfect order I am currently able to bring to my life and home, and the stress it causes me, . . . could I ever, in all of eternity wish for anything more or anything better than my kitchen, as it often is, and as it was on Christmas Eve?
There is happiness. And maybe that’s part of what I’m to learn through this – to see past life’s imperfections and uncontrolled (that I should very much like to control) to the significant and important and good and happy and beautiful. To see the things that cause me anxiety not as a failing, but as a sacrifice . . . for something immeasurably better.
Anyway, more of Christmas. My big family party/talent show/etc. was on the 23rd this year. I love this blurry little angel Mette picture my sister caught:
And a few more. It’s difficult to get my camera out at big family gatherings as I am forever losing children if I don’t keep tabs on them.
Christmas morning itself only came about through our usual haphazard buying and ordering, hiding in the closet, pulling out, sorting into piles for various children (inevitably with some piles too big and some too small), more last minute shopping, and then wrapping at night or shooing kids out of my room and wrapping in the day (and this year – hiding presents in cereal boxes, etc. and having my girls help wrap without knowing what they were wrapping or who it was for). But I’ve done this enough years now that I’ve begun to relax a little – realizing that it always works out, that my methods are fine being different from others, and that . . . no matter how unsure I am about it all coming together . . . Christmas morning always turns out pure excitement and magic.
Anders has been pleading for one of these “shark sleeping bags” for a year or two now.
The only unwrapped things were this little doll house and this blue horse/hoppity hop. It was cute because, without even knowing who each item was intended for, the little girls each ran – squealing excitedly – to the gift meant for them.
Poor Hans. We had to pull a highchair over to trap him in during the morning festivities. There were just too many toys he could break, parts he could lose in the growing piles wrapping paper, and stocking treats he could toss into his mouth – foil wrappers and all – to choke on. Next year will be more fun dearest Hansie-boy.
I still like for Abe to get something to “play” with – near-man though he is. So while he mostly got things like stuff for “tubeless tires” for his bike, he also got a fun sphero r2d2. (He also got the Superfight card game – which gave us some good laughing arguments over the break. There are several ways to play it, but the general idea involves getting to choose a characters as well as various superpowers from among the cards you draw – then getting to choose one of your cards to give to someone else [some of which are delightfully unhelpful] and then putting up an argument as to why you could beat the dealer – who then picks a winner, etc.)
And Daisy was very happy with her ukulele. She’s never played anything with strings, but is figuring it out quickly and because one really doesn’t play a ukulele and not sing, it was very happy to hear her singing and strumming all Christmas break long.
Also, there has quite honestly never ever been a more fitting gift for anyone than this gift that I found for our Goldie. Even in the middle of July she is shivering and wrapping herself in blankets and begging us to turn the AC off.
And then we did something utterly ridiculous and completely preposterous. We had the kids open one final present (the big one leaning – unlabeled – on the wall nearest the tree) to discover a kneeboard. And with a lot of, “A kneeboard? What would we use a kneeboard for? Why would we . . . ?” we sent them to the driveway where the answer was waiting.
It will add such fun to our summer time Bear Lake beach excursions! I must admit, somewhat surprisingly to my own self, that I love wave runners. I don’t know why. I don’t love sitting on a boat much. But I love controlling something small over the water myself and taking my kids out for turns, and letting the older ones take each other for turns. I think we will get a lot of happy memories out of it.
Anyway. Merry Christmas 2017!