It’s 3:00 on New Year’s Eve afternoon and I’m sitting here watching my eldest child chase around after her littlest brother. The house is filled with laughter and shouts of glee. It’s a good moment, at the end of this year, to pause and reflect on all the good things about this life.
Yes, there are many challenges. But amidst whatever struggles we face, there is such goodness in the love we share and the ways that three little people in this house are growing and changing each day.
My big kids have certainly grown in compassion and love since bringing their littlest brother home. Yes, they are learning to read bigger words and do harder math problems. They each have their own interests that are continuing to develop, and they also have friendships at school that are forming outside of our family center.
But for all three of our kids, our family and the life of our home continue to provide a solid center for their lives. Learning to live in community, to be kind, to practice tolerance and respect, to take turns—these are the kinds of life lessons all five of us learn together each day. And maybe more important than new words or skills in addition, lessons like these are what make up the fabric of a person.
Each of my three children exhibits their own unique skills. They each have their own challenges. But that’s what it means to be a kid, with the safe harbor of a family to help a child grow and develop. And while it’s sometimes messy and crazy at our house, it’s also just as likely to be hilarious or sweet or memorable.
|Maya and Sam with my brother Nathan and their cousin Marielle (11 mos.)|
|Sam with Marielle and cousin Parker.|
|Singing carols on Christmas Day.|
|Matthew LOVING the Christmas tree farm earlier this month|
|The girl cousins--Maya and babies Marielle and Hayden in their Christmas pajamas|
|Maya, Parker and Sam show their silly faces|
So as I look back on 2013—a year of much change and growth for our family—I know that all the energy and time we invest in our children and our family is worth whatever it takes away from us personally. I certainly do have moments when I wish I had more time for me—to exercise more or read a good book, to hang out with friends or sit in silence. But this is not the season for those things in abundance. Instead, I feel an abundance of heart and life all around me.
And as I look ahead to 2014, I am quite certain that we’ll again spend the same investment in helping these three children learn and grow. Whatever else awaits is one glorious mystery, and this mama is grateful just for this day—for these giggles from my children—and for a deep sense of purpose and place in this home and this life.
Happy New Year. Welcome 2014!
|All six Eklund cousins playing the backyard last week|