OK, I admit it. I'm addicted to John and Kate Plus Eight. (For those of you who don't know my new friends, they are a couple who have eight kids and their own reality show on TLC) I don't know what it is about this show. Maybe it's the way the two parents communicate or the admiration I have of watching them raise all these children. Sadly, I think it's simply because I can relate to it. I know, I know, I only have 3 kids (all different ages) and they have a set of twins and sextuplets. What could I possibly have in common with them, you may ask. Well, ALOT. They go through so much just to get out of the door, they can't go anywhere without people turning to see who or what is coming, and the noise level in their home is always at about the same decibel level as a motorcycle starting up. Yes, I can relate to these people. I wish I had a nickel for how many times someone has said, "My! You have your hands full, Honey!"
Now, let me explain something about our new home town. There are quite a few of what the locals like to call "Snow Birds". They are senior citizens that either visit our call this area home. Many are very nice, but I believe a few have moved here to here not only to get away from the cold weather, but from the chaos caused by young children. Anytime we go anywhere I get the feeling that they would rather not have run into us. I've never received such nasty looks. So, every time we must venture out to the grocery store or Wal-Mart (One of the snow-bird's favorite haunts) I have the talk. You know what I mean. The one where I threaten then bribe and then venture in with enough snacks in my bag to satisfy an entire preschool only to have a meltdown by all three because I don't want to push the grocery cart with the car on it. This, all before we've even entered the store.
My children also have the most uncanny ways to embarrass me, like the time Mae asked Don, my stepfather, why he had a hole in his hair, or the time John Russel drew a picture of himself smoking a cigarette for his kindergarten teacher, or like how Will likes to wear underwear on his head even when the neighbors come over. Some of you may think this is funny, and I too chuckle a bit at these stories, but Oh, how they can embarrass me.
Then they do something so sweet and my heart just melts. Like yesterday on Mother's Day they all helped Rusty make me breakfast. They were so sweet bringing it to me. They were so excited. They brought cards that they had signed and Mae gave me the sweetest little gift. It was a picture of me and her that she had drawn and wrapped in a paper towel. She had one of her little hair bows pinned on top with my name written on the package. John Russel and Will just snuggled up to me and gave me the biggest hugs. We all sat in my bed while I ate breakfast. How wonderful! It's these moments that will last forever. They will shine in my memory, and I will treasure them always.
You don't have to have children to appreciate them. You can either enjoy another person's child or remember what it was like when you were a child. I think that's part of the problem. Many of these people either have forgotten what it was like to have young children or have forgotten what it was like to be a child. Jesus said in Mark 10:14 Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
My Grandma Miller had 9 children. She wrote the most beautiful poem that is so appropriate for mother's day about the love she had for her children. She understood the importance of children and to treasure them.
By Emma Haywood Miller
If all the world turned 'gainst me
And my heart was stark and cold,
If all my friends grew distant
And my life grew lone and old,
My heart would yet find warmth
Through the darkness of the night
With thoughts of my dear ones
Pictured 'round the deep firelight.
Dear little children o'mine,
Truly the heart of my heart,
What do I care for the world,
What do I care for its part?
Dear little face in the shadow
Held up for the goodnight kiss,
Where are your worldly riches
To match the sweetness of this?
Keep your jewels so precious,
Hide them in vaults airtight,
But leave unlocked my memories
Of my children framed in the light.
This Mother's Day I'm reminded to treasure the memories of my children good and bad. I'm so blessed to have them in my life and so glad that they can bless others--even in the grocery store!