This fall, I hit an uncomfortable, inevitable milestone: for the first time in our marriage (barring the gap of our own making), our baby is two and a half years old, and there’s no little brother or sister already in my arms or waiting to make an appearance.
Just this past weekend, my 15-year-old son and I spent a night and day searching for a little white box in the woods during an ongoing downpour.
I can think of about a million more things that might have been more comfortable — even at moments more enjoyable — than getting soaking wet, but, as members of the Civil Air Patrol, we were training for search-and-rescue missions in the wild woods of Tennessee.
Recently, I shared a blog piece to Facebook. It wasn’t anything I had written, and honestly, the topic doesn’t matter. In the course of the ensuing discussion, however, an interesting (to me) theme developed that was finally succinctly summed up in a single phrase by a friend— the cult of family.
The idea, as I began to understand it, is that it’s a bad thing to be too family centered. (I’m not entirely sure who gets to define “too family centered.”) Apparently, large families are among the worst offenders. I’m guessing that the whole idea springs from the abuses of the Quiverfull movement, which are many, but I truly can’t be sure.
I recently stopped to watch my 17-year-old and 15-year-old sons strip apart some bikes to fix brake and sprocket issues.
Ball bearings were rolling across the floor as one leaned down to grab them. And later, inside, the other told me how some of the work had to be redone because, well, when they had finished, there were a few extra parts that shouldn’t have been extra. Continue reading
I know we’re different.
Just like you, I’ve seen the reactions, heard the mutters and gasps and whispers. I’ve watched you carefully steer conversation from risqué topics in groups, and I know that you’ve demurred, more than once, on a movie night with friends that ran afoul of our standards. I’ve seen you avert your eyes in public spaces, pass on offers of trendy free reads, and admit to your peers that no, you’ve never played that video game… or any video game without Mario involved, actually.
Some day, I will eat a hot meal.
Some day, no one will bang on the bathroom door.
We are a family of 11. It’s an introvert’s dream at my house, as you can imagine. My 20 year-old, Babita, is in Nepal. Everyone else is at home. 19, 16, 14, 10, 8, 6, 4, and almost 2. I never have to worry about falling into the trap of isolationism that my fellow introverts can be prone to. Not ever. They make sure of that.
Isn’t God good?
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When I was pregnant with my second child, a kind acquaintance farther down the path of parenting more than one child passed on a reading list of helpful titles. I was an eager student, especially given that seven long years passed before I became anyone’s sister. I grew up dreading my friends’ summer vacations and envying families where there was a built-in playmate. My babies, however, would be just thirty three months apart, and society told me exactly what to expect. Competition. Struggles. Drama. Vying for my attention. Jockeying for position. Whining. Tattling. Bickering. Rivalry.
At the very top of the list of suggested reads, I found what I was looking for: Siblings Without Rivalry. I immediately went to the library, checked it out, and dug in.
Three nights away. Three much-anticipated nights away with Daddy, which would be full of the adventure of visiting Mamaw and Papaw, exploring a much-beloved museum, seeing friends.
Just three nights.