Tuesday, August 12

Written By My Husband

Last night my wife and I were out till about 10:30 which is late for us.  It isn't that we have not been out this late before and even later on a few occasions.  But last night was the first night no one else cared or needed to know how late we were going to be.  It was our first night as true empty nesters.

It was a little over 32 years ago when m...y wife and I entered a covenant relationship before God.  I was 19 and she was well.....a few years older. We were married at the end of May and by the middle of July we were expecting our first child.  From that day when we realized we were going to have a baby till yesterday "the kids" were the focus of much of our attention.  Sara came along the following March, two years later in February Caleb was here and two years later Oliva made her grand entrance with one of our friends announcing it's a boy; well not quite :-)  The situation was reassessed very quickly.  Almost three years later Daniel came bursting onto the scene at a whopping 10lbs and some few ounces.  He has slimmed down some since then.  Almost three years later Kimberly came in record time, at least for us, and then four years later Lydia Rose was born into a family that now was made up of eight.

Thirty two years ago that all started.  There were only eight of us here together for about five years.  They are now all gone!  Our family has transitioned back to where it started 32 years ago.  It's me and my wife.  In a much bigger house, with a lot more stuff, with a lot nicer car, and half a life time of experiences raising children.  For the last 32 years, there have been pregnancies, breast-feeding, and doctor’s visits, tending to babies, managing a house full of children, tending to teenagers, and trying to strike the right balance with young adults!  My father-in-law says (I think in jest) "Don't get married and have children".  I like to repeat that because it’s kind of funny and it humorously underscores the difficulties attending family
life.  However, I would not trade my experiences with my children for anything.  I have learned some things from raising them that I probably could not have learned in any other way.  Child rearing is humbling work.   Unfortunately for them I learned a good part of it at their expense!  Hopefully they have all learned a thing or two from me; I know they have their mom.

She homeschooled all six of them, the whole time and on a very meager budget.  For twenty-seven years she homeschooled.  And there is no pension, no retirement benefits, no real financial remuneration.  It was a labor of love!  For several of those years she was homeschooling five at a time.  She still found time to sew, do flower gardening, and teach a Sunday School class for much of that time and most difficult of all try to keep me happy.  She fed and clothed a family of eight on at times what amounted to no money.  She found time to go to garage sales and have garage sales.  She sold cookies along with the kids for several years and has learned to turn a profit on buying and reselling.  I think I am married to Wonder Woman!

There was a time (a long time) when we had to figure out what we were going to do with "the kids" if we wanted some alone time.  There was a time when we made a yearly pilgrimage to a homeschool book fair.  We planned vacations with "the kids" in mind.  Surely they all remember having their turn for a trip up east!  And camping, and trails, and getting thirsty, and bike wrecks, and playing in the water, and buying ice and drinking pop and getting ice cream and the museums, and the trips to Kansas to see their other grandparents, and the station wagons and the van, the blue van!  Eight passengers!  Seems like it was made just for us.  And of course your Mom loved the fact that it was a Dodge!  We are eating out but everyone is getting water (except me). I'm the Papa!  When going to Galveston was a treat!  Making fun of each other!  There was a time when we couldn't leave without Mom wondering about "the kids".

Bunk beds, Legos, little ponies, hot wheels, coloring books, bikes, I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith, The Dick Van Dyke show, Anne of Green Gables, Fiddler on the Roof, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Beau Geste, Sgt. York, What The Deaf Man Heard, Bonanza, Chopped, The Inspirations, Domino's Pizza, Sonic & $.50 refills at Buckees (they were probably glad when we lost those refill cups), North and South . . . . . . . . . .

Thirty-two years is a long time to be devoted to something.  It is not that last night was the first night for me and my wife to go to bed alone in the house.  This has been a long time coming.  Twelve or thirteen years now.  But this was the first morning we woke up with the new norm.  We are sad and excited!  We are relived and reflective!  We lost a baby through miscarriage that would have been 14 this year.  That was a hard day!  It would be nice if he/she were here today.  But it would only delay the inevitable.  I knew it would always come to this and I am excited about new opportunities this affords my wife and I, but make no mistake about it I loved raising kids, I loved (and love) my kids.  The older I get the more I love kids (in smaller doses).  I have 8 grandkids and they are grand and they make me laugh and I love giving them a hard time, but I love my kids more!  And they will always be that "my kids".  And I miss them today!  And you can still cry when you are a man and 51!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW JAMES...I cried just now reading your insight! I still have one to go and she will be gone in May 2015 and I treasure the time we have left, but she is not home much because of all her activities and the man she is going to marry. So maybe someday she will realize how much she will miss home.I get to see my older daughter Amanda raise her 3 children and I have to laugh sometimes, cause I went through the same thing with her! I want so much to be part of each of my boys life, but their lives are full of what they do and SO I will in May 2015 be back to where it started, Les & I in a house alone! We will adjust and enjoy it fully. Kristi your sister in law