When the Children All Come Home
It’s nearly Thanksgiving, and this is our year to host the extended family at our house. We’re going to have 30 people, and that is only because not everyone can make it. I really wish that more could be here for the fun!
I know... I am crazy.
But it’s that craziness that warms this Mama’s heart. Having all of our family and friends over to enjoy being together is one of the best things I can think of doing with my time and energies.
Is this going to be the perfect Martha Stewart Thanksgiving? No.
Will all the table settings match and the special China be out? No.
Will there be lots of food, lots of noise, lots of mess? I’m counting on it!
But what is the best thing about this week for me? I have all of my children home.
Of our four children, one is married, and one is almost moved out – he’s hardly ever home between work and other activities. (I know he’s been home because the food in the fridge disappears!)
But this week, our son and daughter-in-law are here. Our other children will be having a break for school soon, and things are slowing down for them. So they are all under our roof this week.
As a mom, I feel like I have all my little chicks in her nest. I know, at least for these few moments, they are safe, happy, and available for me to hug.
You see, as they grow up, your children only have friends who you know, too. Perhaps they are children of your friends or neighbors. You have control over where your children go, who they spend time with, what they do. However, as older teens, they have jobs, go to college, meet people you have never met and don’t know anything about.
It can be a little unsettling for a parent at first. I began to see the benefits of investing lots of time with my children when they were younger: fostering relationships with them, taking interest in what they liked, and coming alongside them in their pursuits. As they entered this new dynamic of young-adulthood, I enjoyed the continued conversations with them. I saw them choose their new friends wisely. I was blessed that they desired to love and serve others as they matured.
But they often do these things “not at home.” They are beginning to fledge out of that metaphorical nest I built in our home. And the not-knowing is sometimes uncomfortable. It certainly brings me to my knees often. After all, God is just as present in their lives in my house as He is when they are on a plane, traveling to another state (or country). So I turn my concern to praying.
That is good. That is what we desire for our children. We expend effort to train them up so they can go out into the world as godly young men and women, ready to do the work God has for them. So our nest becomes emptier and emptier.
Oh how wonderful it is, then, when they are all back in one place all at the same time.
I sometimes sit back and just listen to them all talk and laugh together. Sometimes the conversation moves to things they did as children. Misadventures we had as a family. Shared experiences during a vacation. I take in all that conversation, and it fills me up! It makes my heart glad!
I ponder how God has brought us through so many years of child-training. We have walked through trials together. We have had joys and challenges. And I know that there will likely be more in the years to come. But for right now, in this moment, I am full of praise for what God has done.
I have my children all together today. They are enjoying being together and being with me and Dave. They are striving to serve God in all they do.
As Thanksgiving is celebrated this week, I am holding this verse in my heart:
3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”
If you have young children, I encourage you to continue pressing on toward this goal. It is definitely a long road and a challenging one. But it is the absolute BEST thing you can do with your life. As you and your spouse build up your marriage, you are able to build up your family – and that brings such great joy.
May God enable you to see the blessings He has bestowed on you this Thanksgiving!