Winter is not my favorite. Well. I guess it's not that simple. I don't like getting out in the cold (although running in it isn't as bad as you might think), errands in the cold, loading and unloading groceries in the cold, sitting at football games in the cold, or wearing coats. Ugh. Coats.
Sweaters, YES, coats, NO.
But I do love being HOME in the Winter. I love having the fireplace on and candles lit and cooking soups and muffins.
Last night was a lovely at home evening. Fire on. Potato soup for dinner. Kids (mostly) home. Homework, hot chocolate, everyone piled on the couches and talking. The littles went to bed and the bigs settled into stories and jokes and just being amazing. As usual.
And then it happened.
The Coach and I sitting there across from each other. He on one end of the couch and Daughter (#2) wrapped in a blanket on the other end. Son (#3) sitting next to me, after coming in from church. Son (#4) sitting in the big leather chair - inside his sleeping bag. No one will ever accuse the Coach of keeping this house too warm.
Someone was missing.
It's not that we weren't talking and laughing and enjoying each other. It just that we weren't ALL there and it was obvious.
It won't ever be the same, again. I know that. Son (#1) will come home at Christmastime. He'll slide right back into the troops and it will feel like he never left. But then he will. And even if he's back for a longer time in a few months, Daughter (#2) will be heading off next year. It's going to change a lot really fast at our house.
These kids make me laugh and frustrate me and fill me with so much joy and keep me on my knees. But the whole POINT here is to raise them up and send them off. It's going so quickly.
For now, we'll still gather around (under blankets and sleeping bags - ha!) on evenings home and spend time together. Someday it WILL just be the Coach and I (Lord willing) and that will be precious, too.
Until then, I'm going to count the days until we are once again "ten" and thank the Lord for each moment. They are all so precious.
And as the Coach and I were heading to bed last night, the big kids got on the phone and called Son (#1) - even though it's later there - and told him they missed him and loved him and, generally speaking, gave him a hard time. So all IS right in our little world.
Today I'm thankful.
For a *sort of* warm house. Ha!
For warm layers and coats and hats and boots and gloves - that early morning crosswalk duty for Daughter (#6) and afternoon football practice for the Coach are brutal!
For soup and muffins and hot chocolate. And stretchy yoga pants. Yikes.
For treadmills when the windchill is in the teens.
For hot showers.
For clean, warm laundry, fresh out of the dryer.
For coffee and second cups of coffee.
For things to look forward to: A 1/2 marathon with my Coach, Thanksgiving, time off school, a 13th birthday for Daughter (#5), for Christmas preparations, and my boy coming home!