Love is a many spendored green
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
November is flying by. The kids have all passed their October poem, "When the Frost is on the Punkin," by James Whitcomb Riley and are heading full-steam-ahead into literal pumpkin pie and whip cream.
I am amazed once again by each of them in a new stage of growing and how I feel about the differences in Christmas lists from last year's.
One asks for wacky sweaters, pants or anything, while another wants a "cool watch that will impress people."
The first child of mine I ever taught to read asks for "big, fat, thick books" making me wonder where on earth I did indeed do something half-right.
It must be the Royalty side.
How I sweat days and weeks and months with this one, feeling the lowest I ever had in our homeschooling endeavors, beyond afraid to teach them to read.
To actually look at letters and phrases and put them together better than I ever could growing up and even now. See and Say all the way for this public schooler.
How I laugh at myself and wish I could go back to that make-shift schoolroom, take the phonics charts and throw them out the window for an afternoon while living in New York and tell myself they will be the greatest reader of the clan.
I'd tell myself that they will be bribed by their younger sibling to sit and read to them by flashlight at night because they themselves struggled to read their favorite books.
So much of looking back is wishing you hadn't sweat the small stuff.
Cliche but so very true.
One child of mine under "Needs" on the Christmas list wrote in red ink: A LIFE, which seems fitting since they are on dish duty one more week after improperly washing and rinsing dishes almost gave us all diarrhea.
This one also had a page long "Want" section but gave me fine print that said, "Choose ONE."
Yeah, thanks for that.
And since I am the one who does all the shopping and the wrapping and the planning I am the one who looks over lists and sees afresh who these hoodlums are becoming.
A friend had a sweet picture of her two on Facebook recently and she wrote wonderful descriptions of them. It occurred to me that I always fear doing this because of someone thinking me proud of them and biased, but honestly what's half wrong with that?
I am tickled-pink about who my children are becoming and how I am growing-up with them.
I am pleased that I have passed the "breaking-up with yourself" stage of just beginning to raise children. That stage where you actually see your selfishness for it's ugly self and choose to get up once again in the night to feed someone, to help a sick one, or to just see if they are still breathing for the tenth time.
Some love to sing, some love to brush the living daylights out of their hair and some love to leave every stitch of clothing on the floor until I command them to put them away.
And that's my wonderful life with children.
There will always be one who uses three pieces of bread to make a peanut butter and jelly snack an hour after dinner, rubbing his belly and giving me some teenager joke.
There will always be one who has holes in her tights because she has the big toe of Paul Bunyan.
There will inevitably be a dearth of Life cereal because my daughter eats it all, but that's all just grand with me.
Because I love them.
Because they are mine to nurture and mine to see every ounce of who they really are.
If you tried to tell me early on that six kids would be the bomb or that my marriage would grow and just keep on growing into really good stuff, I'd have told you that you were crazy.
But love has been a many splendored green for me.
Let me explain..
A few years ago now, I left to spend a week with one of my closest friends in New York. I highly encourage this, by the way.
When I arrived home my husband had such a surprise for me!
He ripped out the old carpeting in our bedroom and replaced it with some given to us, gently loved, and painted our room! Two walls were a very light green, one was a shade and a hair darker green and yet another was very pale tan.
He even painted the fan blades green.
It was a wholelottagreen.
I must add here that if you must have someone pick out paint for you, do NOT call my husband nor myself.
We who painted our living area two days before company, three different colors ranging from mustard yellow to pinkish tan to plain old white and then finally found leftover paint from the previous owners and painted it the same color it was to begin with... forty dollars poorer.
Even now a very pink shutter sits outside because I cannot bear to paint it again and try to find something besides Pepto bismol.
This room was a bit too green for my liking- she who wouldn't even know how to tell Joanna Gains what color she likes- but there was an instant love for this room because of all of the work that went into it.
Love is more handing over the last cookie and less being precise.
Love is blooming and growing over here and it's even splashed onto the fan blades.
Green love just for me to notice.
Green love because an infinite God knows a finite woman like myself needs a bit of green to remember being thought of.
And how I need a green thumb raising this brood.
I was nervous when the oldest left and now I'm nervous that he will come home and make me feel all the feels again about him becoming someone I just love to pieces.
Love is so many things.
It's holding on and letting go, and smiling at green walls every morning and talking about everything and nothing all at the same time.
It's knowing when a heart is stirred and keeping it under wraps until they finally decide to spill the beans.
It's sacrifice and too many Skip-bo losses to count.
It's a wink in the choir line and it's "I cannot believe you have another wild card in that pile!"
It's scary and splendid and super hard and incredibly joyful and freeing.
And the maker of all of us creates each of us with hearts that sing at different pitches.
Some wild and strong with full vibrato, and some a serene falsetto you have to strain to really hear.
And we, this family, all make one amazing chorus of love and living for the Lord.
We will never look like a carbon copy of any other family. We are our own green uniqueness.
I wrapped the first gifts on Saturday.
It felt good to see presents coming together. It felt good to give to those who bless me and whom I love to pieces.
I love each piece they are allowing the Lord to put together for them to be useful for His purpose.
I love that I still hide presents from my husband under the bed and smile that he sleeps directly over presents yet to come and doesn't even know it.
Isn't the best present off all the presence of the Lord in your home?
In your marriage?
Isn't it amazing love that keeps us all looking up, looking in and looking on to the next step of obedience in this crazy wonderful life of ours?