Sharing the journey.

9:09 PM

Yesterday was nearly perfect.

   Randy didn't have to work, and that automatically places the day in a good position for being awesome, especially during this very busy summer season when he has to put in long hours at times.  But trust me, I'm not complaining.  There are quite a few farmer's wives out there that have to endure much worse than I, so I will count my blessings!

   Rather spur-of-the-moment, we decided to go to the coast with some friends, and it was probably one of the most beautiful days at the coast I've experienced yet.  Short sleeve weather, sunny, cloudless skies, and the water on your toes almost felt WARM. 

  The kids were so darling out there on the beach with their bare toes and matching clothes.  It was totally unplanned, and I don't think we could have matched them all so well even if we'd tried.:)  Of course I forgot my camera,  so these were all taken with my phone.

 I'm so glad that we don't let this stage of life known as "Parents of Small Children" keep us from doing things.  Of course, it would be easier to just stay home, but when would you make memories?  I have so many good memories from my childhood, and most of them are due to the fact that my parents packed us up, and DID THINGS.  Went places.  Camped, road-tripped, swam, explored, traveled, experienced.  I am so grateful that they weren't afraid to live their lives to the fullest, even with seven children in tow, and I plan to do exactly the same.  Live our lives to the fullest, that is. ;) 

   Jocelyn and Ashton.  I can't get enough of this picture.  Her in those braids, him in that romper all wet from the 13 years or so this will be "SO embarrassing, Mom!"  but for now, it's just too cute. 

   Charlotte, I must say, was an angel.  She basically slept the day away, and was either eating or happy otherwise.  It certainly doesn't happen like that everyday, but when it does, I am pretty tickled. 

   Then we took Mo's by storm with our 5, count them, 5 little ones and it actually went rather well.  It's just so strange to think that when we first met Brandon & Cindy, there was only Anna.  If we four got together, there was just one little child.  Now there's five.  How did that happen??

  There was only one awkward encounter, and it wasn't with the waitress.  She was great about all the kids, and made us feel very welcome.  But the lady sitting next to us leaned over to me and asked,

"How old is your baby?"
"2 months."
"Oh, is she your first?"
"No, our second."
"How old is your other one?"
"20 months."
"Oh my, you must be very tired."
(This is where I tried to put a positive spin on it)
"It's a lot of fun.  It's hard work, but it's a lot of fun."
"Well, that is VERY close together."

    While I tried to figure out what exactly to say next, Cindy pipes up (bless her heart) and said, "Not as close as mine! Mine are twins." :)  She's such a dear. The lady was actually pretty nice, and it wasn't at all that offensive, it was probably just the fact that I'm a little sensitive to that subject to begin with, and the way she phrased it all just seemed sort of derrogatory.  But that's o.k.  Children aren't the most appreciated things in this world, I'm finding out.  Oh they're appreciated, don't get me wrong, just not appreciated the most.  Lots of things are respected more.  Like an Olympic gold medal, or a Nobel Peace prize, or a best-selling book....I could go on.  Those things garner praise and admiration from throngs of people, and sometimes a child can garner you not much more than a pitying look and an "Oh you must be so tired." 

   This is a CHILD.   A LIFE.  A soul.  I am entrusted with a unique being, a precious, amazing individual to raise and cherish and nurture and love.  There never has been, or ever will be another Jocelyn.  Another Charlotte.  And they were given to ME.  They could be the next Mother Theresa, or Florence Nightingale, or Elizabeth Elliot.  It is impossible to see how far their paths will take them, or how many people their lives will touch.  But for right here, right now, I am their guardian.  I am their teacher.  What an honor!  What a privilege.  Yes, I am tired.  But after winning a gold medal, does anyone say to the Olympian, "My, you must be tired"?  NO!  I'm sure they're exhausted!  Probably weak with the strain of the efforts it took to get them to where they stand. Most likely they are drained mentally, physically and emotionally, but all anyone can do is sing their praises.  

Not so for the mothers. 

   But like I said, it's o.k.  It comes with the job, and we are the privileged ones, whether anyone recognizes it or not.  And at times even I don't recognize it.  When the little one cries, and the older one begs and pulls and the needs seem to pile up higher than the resources within me to meet them, I forget.  I think for a moment that the others out there are the privileged ones.  The ones without diapers to change, or matching shoes to scramble to find, or baths to give on Sunday mornings when you don't have time to get breakfast or your hair the way you like it.  I start to forget.  But then I have an evening like tonight, where we stay in because it's what our family needs, and I sit outside by the fire alone, and write.  'Alone time' is a phenomena for a mother, and I don't think I will ever take it for granted again. 

   To wrap this up, I just have to say again, that yesterday was in many ways, perfect.  God smiled down sunshine on us all day, and we were able to spend time with our children and dear friends.  I've said it before and I'll say it again...I am so thankful to be raising our families along side our friends.  To feel like you're in this together.  They understand the ugly/beautiful of the late nights and endless diapers and rocking and feeding and bathing and reading.  It's a journey that's meant to be shared, and I love it when our friends prioritize their families, and view it as a privilege and an honor. 

   We like to joke about all the things we'll be able to do "down the road" when we don't have so many little ones under our wings.  But the truth is, I can see us all sitting around a fire, years from now, recounting memories just like our day yesterday, and yearning for those days back.  The precious ones that used to have the braids and the rompers and the sand in their diapers will be off having adventures of their own, and we will wish we could feel their sticky kisses and hear their little "Mama! Mama!" just one more time. 

 Yes, I am tired.  But I wouldn't have it any other way.

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  1. absolutely LOVED the last two paragraphs! Loved the whole blog but the last two were extra beautiful, good picture that one day you will hopefully look back on and relive the day.

    Shelley, you have a beautiful life, a beautiful family. I definitely know how life does not seem that way most of the time and it is those little moments where we stop and think about the day and say, "Thank you God for the life I have. Thank you for. . . and. . . and. . ." I love how He is so detailed with our lives, even in the carving. Blogging helps me to see those good moments as well. . . to soak them up and to see that life can be beautiful.

    I love your heart. A lot. I love how real you are. . .how open. You aren't afraid to show you are a real family, one who has struggles and beauty. It is so encouraging. Thank you!

  2. loved this post,& I agree 100% that children seem to be underappreciated nowadays. We have been BLESSED with 4 & expecting our 5th in Dec.& often when we are out & about with all of them & my ever growing belly we get a lot of comments like,"boy, you have your hands full" & I never really knew how to respond to that comment because yes,it did often come across as degrading. I now have the perfect answer to that comment & it always takes people by surprise & I believe it causes them to think a little.Now when someone says wow,you have your hands full. I respond with,"yes,I do. but I would rather have my hands full,than to have them empty,each one is a gift I've been given,that I CHERISH & not a day goes by that i'm not thankful for each one!...what I don't tell them is yes, there are moments of frustration,worry,& exasperation! & many O LORD's what have I gotten myself into. but at the end of the day, I wouldn't trade it for anything!

  3. Shelley...I love how you're so real. Thanks for sharing your life here- I love all the glimpses of love, struggle, and sweetness mixed together. And, just a word of encouragement- you'll never regret having the babies. The other day I was thinking of how life would be if my mom had stopped with her boy and girl. Well, for me and seven other souls, life would not be. I can't even imagine. Or what if she would have stopped when she was overwhelmed with half a dozen kids that came pretty close together? A tender blond eyed guy, a fiesty little artist of a girl, a cuddly teddy bear boy, and a little brown girl called "Bob" wouldn't be in the world, wouldn't grace our lives with so much love, challenge (yes!), and laughter. and, oh, the memories! I'll be forever grateful.
    keep writing, and keep on loving your little girls!
    Allison B

  4. I absolutely love your perspective on being a mother and having children. Yes a million times!! I had no idea how it would go from having one child and getting the "awwww" looks of admiration to having two and suddenly getting "poor you" looks. No, I am not a single mother whose life is out of control. Yes, my husband and I actually want all these children. And maybe one at a time, we have to show the world how much of a blessing children are. I love your writing, and thanks for sharing your heart!

    Oh, and I looked at the wedding pictures you linked to on facebook, and goodness gracious me, you look absolutely amazing for just having had a baby! If I wouldn't have seen baby bump pictures prior to this, I would think you adopted, because there is no baby tummy to be seen! :)

    Blessings this day~


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