I cannot even begin to tell you how often people make comments about the size of our family. “Oh my, are they all yours?!?” Uh, duh?! Why in the world would I drag any number of kids to get groceries with me unless they belonged to me? That is usually followed up by “Oh wow! you have your hands full!” Yep, but better full than empty! This is especially funny to me because I often have just the three littlest boys with me. I rather enjoy pointing out that they are just our bottom third and that I have a few at the elementary and a few at the high school. I have to admit that I kind of like the look of surprise that they give me. (Maybe a little bit too much. I am easily amused these days!) I won’t lie. It can be a major pain in the butt to drag the kids around, but as any mother of any number of kids will tell you, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I firmly believe that we are blessed with the number of children that will bring us closer to God. They are, after all gifts from Him. This could be 2 kids or 10 or zero. We don’t know. We also don’t know how God will bring these children to us. For me it was through both adoption and childbirth. I can’t imagine a day without any of my 9 blessings. Every one of them brings something special to our family. They each have their own quirks and gifts that make our family what it is. Sometimes those gifts and quirks create utter chaos and (as My hubby lovingly refers to as) an ear-splitting cacophony that would drive Mother Theresa to drink! But it is our chaos and cacophony and we like it just fine.
To be honest one of the biggest challenges is finding on-on-one time with the kids, particularly the middle kids. The older kids stay up later so we can usually squeeze in some conversations after the hurricane of insanity, also know as the middles and littles, are in bed. And for me because they are still so dependent, the littles get a fair share of my undivided attention. But the middles, Isaac, Hannah and Gianna, are tricky. They are gone all day at school and when they get home they are so busy with sports, homework and kid stuff that it is hard to actually talk to them. Not to mention that after school is insanely busy. I am attempting to start up dinner and straighten up the house one more time before Brian gets home. It is just not conducive to bonding.
Throw in the fact that all three of them, particularly Isaac, are trying so hard to grow up, to be one of the big kids. They want to be independent. They want the same privileges that the older kids have. They just haven’t figured out that those privileges come with responsibilities that they can’t quite live up to yet. This new independence makes them push us away. They pull away from hugs. They are frequently heard wailing, “Mooooooom! It’s not fair!!” They haven’t yet learned that life isn’t always fair. Ahhhhh.
But every once in a while we get a little blessing, a little reminder that although they are growing up, the middles still need us. Not only do they need us but occasionally we can still come through as the hero! We just had such an instance. For Christmas, Isaac was given an Android tablet. He loved it! He used it to play games and look up things for school assignments. He was thrilled with the gift. He took very good care of it. He always made sure that he put it up safely. And then that fateful day…Isaac had plugged in his tablet to charge and had put up high on our computer desk shelf. He thought that it was safe and in a normal house, it probably would have been. Unfortunately for him, Jonathan has a minor addiction to electronics. He pulled it down and stepped on it, cracking the screen, rendering it useless. Isaac was really upset. I felt terrible because it really wasn’t his fault. So I went online and ordered him a replacement. I didn’t tell him, I just ordered it and waited. In the meantime, Isaac has played every bit of his preteen role. He has been moody and sulky, growling a hesitant reply now and then. And then the mail came! In the mail was a certain package containing a certain Android tablet. I called him into our bedroom and told him to sit down on the bed. He kept questioning what he had done. I looked at him and said, “You tell me! What have you done?” He looked worried and a tiny bit guilty before we finally let him off the hook. I handed him the tablet. He looked at in surprise. “What is this?!” I told him that we felt bad that Jonathan had broken his and we wanted to replace it for him as an early Confirmation gift. The smile that he gave us lit up his whole face. “Oh wow!” he mumbled as he walked out of the room. We were heading to the table for dinner when he turned around and gave me the biggest hug. \”Thanks Mom! It’s awesome!” And then he turned to Brian and did the same thing. We looked at each other in a mix of disbelief and happiness. Our little guy was back, if for just a moment. We were reminded of the sweet boy that’s still in there! I love when we get that little peak of the sweet boy slowly growing into a fine young man. Thank you for little glimpse buddy! I needed it!