Sunday, August 24, 2008

Entry for July 28, 2008 ~ For A Lifetime...

Even tho' I have eight children, two more in Heaven, I am torn each that three of them are out on their own in the world.
Paul, the eldest, is married and has been for nearly two years, with a three-month-old son. Mary, the eldest daughter, is a proud homeowner also; she has her own condo, and is an accountant. Andrea, our fourth daughter, was married two weeks ago and she and her new husband live about a mile away.
That's it for the "out of the house" children...and then there are the five still here with us.
Theresa & Laura, just one year younger than Mary, are in school, working in a Celtic gift store, and keeping busy with their lives, doing alot of volunteer work on the side, as it comes along. Clare, just younger than Andrea, is in school also, full-time and helps out in the same store where her older sisters work. Julia, our youngest daughter, is also in school and works in a department store. Stephen, the youngest of all, is a full-time student and works for the utility company part-time. None of these jobs reflects what each is studying, but at least they help with tuition and books, lol...
So, all in all, the children have all turned out well...each has a life, each contributes to society in the way that suits them best. Each is a loving, intelligent, Christian Catholic, sweet person ~ and yet, as it never ceases to amaze me, each is a totally different personality than the next one. Even the twins are complete opposites in many ways, as much alike as they are in others.
Their father and I have invested nearly 30 years of our lives in their upbringing and education, praying for and guiding them on their way to adulthood. There have been up times and down times, to be sure, but nothing like what I might see on a TV reality show ~ who needs that??!
The way some people raise their children is unthinkable to me, sometimes...I see how they are neglected, abused, endangered even. I think about my own and I want to cry.
I miss the ones who have left every day...I cry in my heart for them being gone. Luckily, they all live nearby so we see them often, talk often on the phone, visit with our grandson often ~ he is such a dear heart ~ and keeping up with their lives is such an ongoing treat...I will enjoy what I can get out of the experience...for a lifetime.
The ones who still live here at home are all busy, so there are alot of times that the house is completely quiet. That is the way of life, and I thank God every day that we have been allowed to live long enough to see them all grow up...but when they are home, I have to admit, are the happiest times for me.
I have gotten so used to the noise of a big family that I am having a hard time with the quiet ~ the "sounds of silence," as it in an earlier post here I remember saying that the house was completely empty one evening except for the two of us, me & Mike, and it was almost eerie.
As much as we love one another ~ and we truly are attached at the hip ~ I feel a change in our life. Some things change, some things don't and all things we cannot help. In my heart I still count to eight, I cannot help that. Is this how it was for our parents? Years ago when we ourselves first left? Did they hurt inside? Did they feel lonely or sad? Did they keep the doors to our old rooms closed so they could pretend that the children would once again be inside?
Or did they understand that life goes on and we were only doing what God had intended for us to do all along? To fly from the nest and begin the life that was meant to be...for a lifetime?
I chose this picture to illustrate this entry because Mary and Andrea shared a room for the past seventeen years. When Mary left, it was strange enough...but Andrea was still here. Mary was thrilled to have her own place and she is doing great there.
As we watched the date of Andrea's wedding fast approaching, we knew it was only a matter of time. Now that time is here. She is happy with her Nick and we couldn't be happier for her! He is a wonderful young man and head over heels in love with her.
But as our children leave us, one by one, we will continue to see the changes in our lives. They will probably go on to get married ~ at least a few of them will ~ and we will see the addition of many more grandchildren ~ or at least, I pray that we will.
In the meantime, I will enjoy the time we have left with them. I will relish all the memories and the possibility of more.
The two girls in this picture, as they represent Mary and Andrea sharing time together, will later come to mean the others to me...Clare and Julia, Theresa and Laura. Sharing rooms, memories and lives ~ until the time finally comes for each to move on...
And the times of their childhoods will always be a part of what we hold in our hearts...for a lifetime.

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