I started out with five kids, from two to twelve. Here's a pic from that first month.
And one from this month (they grow, but they don't change that much!):My oldest became a teen that year, and my youngest was potty trained.
Here's a post that still describes much of my life (originally posted June 9, 2006):
Where do I fit in?
I stopped by the kiddie pool when I dropped my 12-year-old daughter off at her volleyball practice this morning. In between watching volleyball, I watched all the mothers, some holding infants, playing with and following their preschoolers around the pool.
It struck me how very much in the middle I am right now.
Yes, I am a mother of preschoolers. I’m sure I love my little ones as much as all those other ladies do. I have the same responsibilities as they do, to feed, care for and train my small kids. When I go to the pool, I am right there in the water making sure no one drowns, just as these mothers are.
But preschoolers are not the center of the family schedule anymore. Their needs do not drive all the activities of the family (exception: potty training time!). In fact, many of their needs (say, naps, for example) have to be carefully balanced with the activities of the older kids.
Does this make them any less important? Of course not. They add a dimension of joy and exuberance (and chaos!) to virtually every interaction in this family.
But their preschool years are a far cry from the calm, structured existence our first two children experienced. They go with the flow because they have to.
Some of the mothers of my preschoolers’ friends just don’t understand how I could let my preschoolers stay up so late or (gasp!) have less-than-perfect nutrition, to name but two of my parenting weaknesses.
And yes, I have older children. But let me tell you, there are precious few of my middle schoolers’ friends that have siblings in diapers. Very few of my eight-year-old’s friends even have younger brothers or sisters.
When I go to the pool, the mothers of my older kids’ friends are usually not even there. They have dropped their kids off in favor of running errands. If they are there, they have brought a two-inch thick, spellbinding fiction novel to keep them from falling asleep in the sun (don’t even ask me the last time I read fiction!). Either that, or they want to have a long, detailed conversation with me, while I am frantically trying to look past them, ever ready to yank my gasping two-year-old out of the water by the hair, if I have to.
So where do I fit in? Preschool mom? Middle-years mom? Tween (soon to be teen) Mom?
(Shhhh. I know what you're thinking: CRAZY mom!).
We don't think a thing of it at home, but I’ve been told that we could have “planned” a little better and had our kids closer together (oh, the things that people think are their business!).
That might have made it easier. Easier to lump my children into a nice neat group that would make my social life so much more convenient.
I was always one of those group-floaters as a teenager. Never really part of the "in" crowd but never part of the "out" crowd, either (or so was my adolescence-tinged perception). I figured that was part of growing up.
But maybe this is my lot in life: this messiness, this social in-between-ness. I'm learning to be okay with it.
Maybe I'm growing up, too.
Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people...
I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life.
I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (The Message)