The saddest part about Summer winding down? Losing our lazy Sunday nights. Summer Sunday nights are the best. School Sunday nights? Not so much. Like that project you were supposed to start on Friday and do something every day all weekend, except there was a football game on Friday night and volleyball all day Saturday and church on Sunday morning so RIGHT NOW it all must be done before you go to bed! You can tell how much I'm looking forward to it, right?
Yesterday we had one of our last free Saturdays before schools starts. Or I should say before footballs starts. When I say goodbye to my men for months. (Kidding. Sort of.)
The Coach and I took an earlyish run. Because early to him is 5:30 and early to me is 7:00. I've given up on being a morning person. Pretty sure he hasn't give up on making me one (bless him). As we neared home, a thunderstorm was rolling by to the north. Then we sat on the porch and drank our coffee and talked. For over an hour. We realized we didn't have too much on the agenda for the day (hence the porch sitting), so I assigned jobs to all of the kids and we took my dad to the noon movie. So nice.
There were days when the kids were little that I was sure they'd never be independent. I'd take 10 times longer to get a job done so they could be by my side learning along with me - on a good day. On a bad day I'd do it all by myself while they napped or watched a video. Remember Bear in the Big Blue House? "Mmmmm. You smell like... Honey." Loved that. Then I started assigning them jobs only to have to go give them step by step instructions, follow up after, and send them back to do it all again more thoroughly.
But I'm telling you. The day will come. When they will be SUCH a help to you. And since you don't have to do all of the work (or spend 10 times longer doing it with them hanging on your leg or messing it up as you go)? You'll have time to play games and watch movies and do puzzles and cook and bake WITH them.
Trust me. Stick with it. Take deep breaths and keep teaching and training and laughing at the frustration of it all. So worth it.
We get obsessed with games at the troops. They play the SAME thing for weeks. And weeks. Until I think I might lose my mind. Then they switch to something else and play that for weeks. It's odd and funny and maddening.
This Summer started with Volley/Tennis/Roof Ball. Hitting volleyballs off the roof with tennis racquets. Oh. And you have to say a random word when you hit the ball. Made up games might be their specialty.
It continued with croquet. Hours and hours of croquet in the front yard. They googled the rules and played all around our sloped, tree-filled front yard. They even added a rule that everyone not hitting the ball had to stand on the sidewalk so as not to interfere. Which created a cheering, jeering gallery that was far more entertaining than the game itself. The neighbors must think we are nuts.
Then the extreme heat arrived and they moved inside to the A/C and Rumikub. Always a favorite, but for several weeks an obsession. Everyone trying to beat daughter (#7) who was blessed by God almighty with her daddy's math brain. I actually beat her twice. The whole Summer. I'm so proud.
Currently? They are playing indoor volleyball on their knees in the living room with a huge pink rubber ball and throw pillows for the middle line. We've moved the candles, vases, and picture frames because it is obviously somewhat hazardous. But also hilarious.
I'll miss all of this when we have games every night of the week. But that has it joys, as well.
I've cut the boys' and the Coach's hair for years. I was fortunate to start before they cared what it looked like (buzz cuts for everyone!) and gradually I've learned enough (with some lessons from my mother-in-law and my dad) to do a respectable job on five different heads of very different hair who all want it cut different ways.
But it's not my favorite chore. At all. So much pressure. And itchiness.
So today, when the boys said they were paying to go to the walk in place and get their hair cut and giving me the day off? I rejoiced.
These guys have my heart.
And I got a nap.
Last week the Coach and I sat down and talked about how we had gotten a bit lazy with each other. My Coach is a such good man. I know I say that a lot and if you know him you know it's true. But life with a houseful of teens just gets busy. We were getting everything done. But like ships passing in the night. We'd quit doing a lot of the thoughtful things that make life with each other FUN. We'd go days only texting "Are you bringing the kids home or do I need to come get them?" and "What's for dinner?" which was always a kid using the Coach's phone and not the actually the Coach.
We've been apart more than usual this Summer. It did give us a new appreciation for each other, but it also made us both more comfortable than usual doing things on our own. When he's gone (and often without any communication) on a mission trip, I'm in charge. When he's on a mission trip, I'm not experiencing what he's going through. It gets to be a habit and then all of a sudden you're both acting independently instead of communicating and making decisions together.
Thankfully, we both realized it. Talked about it. Have been working harder at getting back to paying more attention to each other. Texting "I love you." and "I'm grateful for you." and "Thanks for unloading the dishwasher before you left this morning." Can I just say? Makes life really good. Somehow when we treat each other as if we like each other? We remember how very much we do. He's still my favorite after these 21 something years.
Right now, as I'm headed to bed, Daughter (#2) is somewhere over the water, flying from Dubai to Dallas on her way home from two weeks in Kenya. She's shared the gospel and held beautiful babies and watched the elephants at the watering hole. I can NOT wait to hear all about it. After she sleeps for two days. Ha!
Which brings me back to these crazy kids. Parenting is the hardest job there is. There are days I'm fairly certain I won't survive and the only reason I keep going is because I'm blessed to have a community of family who HAS. Survived, that is. It gives me hope on the days when I'm sure I've failed completely.
But how very grateful I am to be their momma. To watch them grow and learn and serve others and become these amazing people that I love so dearly.
Keep trusting your people to their loving Heavenly Father and take deep breaths and go to bed earlier and leave the dishes for the kids to do at 10:00 pm.
It's the best.
Happy Summer Sunday!
Phil. 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."