I am a devotee of big families. Although people thought we were crazy to have seven children in this day and age, to us life seemed better with so many kids in the house. True, stress levels could rise quickly, but that’s life in most households. Contrary to logic, though, having seven children was oftentimes easier than one or two. By the time the younger ones came on the scene, the older ones could be a genuine help.
For example, after I taught the first two to tie their shoes, I never taught another. The older ones did it. By the time the first one could drive, we had another person to help with the carpool. And in a public place, the older ones knew instinctively to keep track of the younger. So the truth about big families is that seven children is not seven times the work of one. They are, however, seven times the joy.
As big families grow and change, there is one chronic problem though. It becomes more and more difficult to get them all assembled in the same place at the same time. Our seven, plus two spouses and five grandbabies, live in distant locations with thousands of miles separating them from each other and me. Jobs, budget considerations and other commitments inhibit frequent travel, and when we do succeed in getting together, it’s a rare treat.
When Hans, Katy and their three little people arrived out of nowhere yesterday (actually out of England), it was the surprise to top all surprises. I’m still savoring the joy of that heart-warming reunion. It quickly became evident we needed to get the last one of us from distant Iowa north to Afterglow a.s.a.p!
Tonight we motored from this small Northwoods town of several hundred people to a larger town of several thousand. When we pulled up to the airport curb where we were invited to idle and wait (how different from Chicago’s airports!), we watched Birgitta’s propeller plane land very close to where we sat.
Our reunion was joy-filled as her arrival completed the family circle. My mother-heart warmed, knowing our family of 15 would be tucked in under the same roof tonight, a rare treat, now that so many have grown and flown.
I thought of how none of us would have been at Afterglow Lake this week, had Nate not passed away last fall. If he was still with us, his work schedule and debilitating back issues would have kept us from making the trip. It’s also remarkable that three family members who were not with us when Nate was, are here at Afterglow this week. There have been many changes, with more to come.
Life is moving forward, and time is sweeping us all along, tugging us away from the past and into the future. Our family is different without the husband and father we loved, but there is no choice but to become a new whole.
God subtracted one, added three, and this week we are reveling in being together… just as the Lord designed our changing family to be, at least for now.“I the Lord do not change . So you, O descendants. . . are not destroyed.” (Malachi 3:6)