The house is quiet. No little feet padding on the hardwood floors. The voices of babies, adults and dogs are silent now. Happy noises of game playing, TV watching and puzzle working have been muted. Little tin cups have found their way back to the tiny cupboard. Teddy bears sit stiffly, unbothered by little hands. Beds have been stripped. Sheets and towels have been washed, dried and put away. Our house is back in order and my husband and I are sitting quietly doing what we normally do on a Monday evening. Yesterday it was totally different! Laughter and conversation permeated the house. Baby and toddler needs dominated our attention until nap time, when voices lowered and real conversation started up. Dogs were hushed while good questions and meaningful answers could be pursued. Coffee and cookies appeared and were enjoyed as talk continued: some in the kitchen, others in the TV room.
When the babies woke it was time to be off on adventures: walking the dogs, visiting Great-Grandma, toddling through the Play Station, hiking to the park, or off to eat pizza. One day cousins from Texas came for lunch, and later a cherished family joined us for dinner. Church brought us together again to worship and to hear that God has this thing covered and our times are in his hands.
These grown-up kids of ours provide a richness to savor. We love, support and hope the best for them. While they are home we listen and encourage; watch and take it all in. Adults now, they need each other and us in new ways. We show our love differently than when they were tiny. We admire them, quietly proud of how they have matured and the choices they have made. Adventure and action arrive as they step through the door! Always on the go they think up new and exciting ways to interact and take pleasure in their days together. Some of us are less adventurous but none the less precious and prized as important here.
It isn't perfect. Feelings get hurt sometimes. Jokes aren't always received as funny. Stubbornness rears up at times and cooperation flees as resistance rises. But things get talked out and forgiveness covers the thin places. That's what is so amazing about family. It is not flawless but it is committed. We don't ever give up on each other. We believe in the future of each one and keep our eyes open, ready to celebrate small steps toward health, maturity, faith and wisdom. We worry and pray over them, trusting God to guide and comfort each in their individual journeys.
I rest here tonight, comfortable in my fleece robe and slippers. Unable, just yet, to take down the tree with the sparkly lights and noiseless beauty, I find a calmness and comfort in the quiet. I love to have our kids and grand kids here. I also love to sit softly with Brian or alone in this darkened place to write, to remember and to give great thanks for the mystery and blessing of family, love, Jesus's birth, and hope for the future.