This week, our oldest son turns 20.We'll go from having 4 teenagers on the top end, to an adult, 3 teens, a tween, 2 elementary kiddos, and a preschooler.
When our oldest was 15, I gave birth to our youngest, which means it's been teens, tweens, and toddlers around here for a long time.
It's crazy. I'm directly managing or overseeing so many people's schedules and lives that all I can aptly describe our life as is this:
It's like navigating a Los Angeles freeway while listening to a live Motley Crew concert, tossing food at everyone in the back seat, nursing the baby, and following the GPS on your phone, while checking Facebook and Tweeting and snapping a picture of it all to post on Instagram.
Sometimes I forget to throw the food to the people in the backseat because I'm engrossed in driving us to where we're going. Sometimes I forget to get us to where we're going because I'm distracted by the urgent need for gasoline. Sometimes, the people outside of the car I'm driving on that treacherous freeway feel as if I don't have the time for them anymore because, well, I'm driving this car and there are people to feed and the baby is crying and there's a traffic jam and it's snowing and would someone please turn off that rock concert?
So when I was recently asked on Facebook how we "deal with preschoolers while dealing with teenagers and in betweens. Like shuttling older kiddos... dealing with doing things the big kids like to do but also remembering to fit in the things the littles like... and enjoying special time with the older kids in the evening when the littler kids are in bed, but also having alone time with hubby before midnight", I just had to smile and maybe even shake my head.
The answer to that question is, "I don't know", mixed with a heavy-handed dollop of grace.
Many days, that doesn't feel like an adequate answer. Many days I think I'm failing them academically or not producing enough lovely dinners or allowing the little guys too much television so I can catch up with the older ones or gypping the teens because I am leary of bringing two spitfire small boys to whatever it is the older kids would like to do.
I know my husband would like more intimacy, more often.
I know my friends would like me to be more present, go with them shopping or to lunch in the middle of the week, or to Kenya in May.
I know that everyone wants more and better from me, but I cannot give what they are asking. I can only do what is on the plate for the day, and then fall asleep to wake up and start all over again.
But when I look back over this most obstreperous period of our lives, I will see one thing as a constant (besides the noise). I will see Jesus. I will see grace.
It's not giving up. It's giving in to Jesus. And in my imperfections, He is perfect.