Nonetheless, I've enjoyed another Christmas with my family around me. I realize that I won't always have each of my kids here for the holidays. It took some heroics to get them here this year, in the form of 4 really expensive tickets! When they are married and living in foreign countries, bringing them home, assuming they even WANT to come home anymore, might be out of our budget. Funny that I used to budget for Christmas gifts, now I budget for tickets instead. I just want them around me. And they don't seem to mind fewer gifts this year.
The mess is worth it because these kids are fun to be around. I used to grouse because it seemed like as soon as the kids were 'civilized,' they left home. Once cured of slurping their sodas, leaving wet towels on the floor or burping at the table, they're out on their own. I guess the goal is to make home a place where they want to return. And amazingly, the kids are helping make our home inviting.
Even though the illness going around could be blamed for bad behaviors, everyone has been so good to each other. They have kept each other laughing with family jokes, smoothed ruffled feathers quickly and pitched in with the dishes. They have begged to play board games and gone outside to team up for some basketball. They have babysat the babies so Shellie could get errands done. They've fallen asleep holding baby Scotty and read books to Clark. They've chased each other through the house swinging Nerf swords or shooting Nerf darts at each other. They've bit their tongue when tempers have flared instead of adding to the problem. The higher noise level has been welcome, familiar and right. Just like when they all were little and living here permanently.
I will really miss these kids. Thankfully I have three kids still at home, still burping at the table, leaving their wet towels on the floor and slurping their food. I have 8 more Christmases ahead until the youngest will be gone. I will treasure these Christmases and hope to gather as many of them back to share the season with me and Scott each year.
So I'll step over the mess and watch for the car coming up the driveway. The kids are coming home and we have a fun dinner planned for tonight. I can easily get the house back in order when they're gone back to college in a few short days.
Investing in my 7 kids all these years sure makes me grateful to have them around me for Christmas. But more so, I can't imagine life without these kids. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I know that these kids will be mine forever. With my husband, we are sealed together through temple covenants that bind us in heaven, as well as here on earth. That is the greatest gift I could ask for!