We went to UT and ID for 2 1/2 weeks. We had two visitors (both friends of #1) and Brandon's mom/step-dad visit. We're adjusting to two cats (Walter is hilarious). We're going to Nauvoo and Pennsylvania this month. We'll have my parents and Brandon's dad visit for a few days --#3 turned 12, yesterday, so his ordination to the Priesthood is this weekend.
School starts next Tuesday. I've learned that teenagers are infinitely more expensive than babies and children. I've spent time with old friends and have made new ones. I've readjusted over and over to the dynamics of my responsibilities, and I'm constantly amazed at every new revelation.
I try to put flowers on my table every week or so. I'm still decorating the home to my tastes and we're making plans for changes we want to implement. New bathrooms, maybe another bedroom, paint, fixing ceilings, maybe new track lighting... perhaps another window to bring more light into the kitchen? They are long-term dreams.
I play the piano as much as I can, even though lately I haven't had much of a chance. Sickness, laundry, in between trips, registering kids in FOUR different schools (1 in high school, 2 in middle school, 2 in elementary school, 1 in preschool), doctor appointments, dental appointments, orthodontist appointments, etc. School will be busy. Three in piano lessons, 1 in cello lessons, and #3 might start football. #1 has applied to work at a fast-food restaurant and is also learning face-painting for some upcoming carnivals and farmers markets. I forget how busy life can be during the school year. I may feel overwhelmed in the summertime, but it really is lazy in comparison.
For example, for four glorious days, we were in the mountains in Utah at our besties cabin (like last year). I read four novels (Between Shades of Grey (no, that book is not what you think it is --it's an incredible story about WWII), Jane Austen Ruined My Life, Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, and The Dashwood Sisters Tell All), nursed a cold, and loved how my kids were able to run amok. Trees, wind, animals, no internet, no cell service, just good friends and a lot of simplicity.
I will mention that I also took a break from Facebook. I just decided one day, after a senseless debate, to deactivate my account. That was several weeks ago. A month? And now I'm seriously debating about going back. The only thing I truly miss about Facebook is my large family group and the ability to stay in touch with people. But I have Instagram, email, and I kept FB messenger. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I was wasting an incredible amount of time on FB. I thought it would be devastating and I would be so missed, but... I feel lighter with it gone from my life right now. I don't think many people have even noticed, to tell you the truth. And you know what? I'm really okay with that.
I'm coming to know who I am as a sinner, a woman, a wife, and a mother. I'm more humbly aware of my mistakes. It's painful to heal, but I'm putting more trust in my Savior as we mend my brokenness together. I'm grateful for energy healing, understanding friends, continuous therapy, and my own patience. More than the pain, it takes time to heal. I'm finding that I'm just as prideful and selfish as everyone else. Discovering my own sins, misdeeds, mistakes, temptations, and flaws have been humbling, to say the least. It has helped me be more compassionate for those who truly struggle. It's helped me judge less and love more. I'm still working on judging myself less and loving myself more. Satan works hard on my psyche. I keep thinking I must be pretty awesome for he and his cronies to spend so much time working on me! The best part is that I can feel the Savior and His Angels spending just as much time and effort with me, too. That gives me a lot of hope and gratitude.
One thing that is never far from my mind is the question about whether or not our family is finished. Brandon and I have both had some special experiences in the temple that don't really give us complete and clear direction, and we're both a bit at odds with each other on the answer. We've never been at odds about our family size, before, so it's new territory for us. Until now, the answer was always, "of course there's another one." That's no longer the case. Truthfully, the real answer is "never say never." Some people I speak to have very clear direction on this in their lives --they know absolutely either way. Some know to just let them come if they come. Some knew right away when their family was complete. I only know a few people like me who feel they're a bit in limbo with no clear answer.
Part of me is desperate to be finished. When #7 starts Kindergarten, #1 will probably be on her mission (or a sophomore in college). I want to be a grandmother who isn't raising babies while her babies are having babies, you know? Brandon will be 58 when she graduates from high school (#7) --he does turn 40 this year. I will be 38 in February. I'm also very tired. #7 is our worst sleeper and our vacation derailed all of the work we did on getting her to sleep in her own bed all night. We have to start over, but with Nauvoo and PA looming ahead of us, I don't want to start until it's over. I also feel like a really awful mom. People tell me (just today the receptionist at the dental office told me I'm a very patient mom and I inspire her) I'm a great mom, but man alive, I'm just not sure I'm very good at all. How can I have more when I feel I'm barely making it with the ones I have? I also don't want to put my body through it all again --giving life is a true sacrifice. My amazing body has been through the wringer to bring these souls into existence and I have to admit I'm a bit leary at giving birth, again.
Part of me is desperate to have another baby. I feel someone is missing. I feel it every time we gather together or get in the van or eat dinner. I love being pregnant and feeling the baby moving inside of me, and I love having a newborn, a little squishy soul fresh from heaven. Even though it is difficult, my body is good at giving birth and even with complications I've had, good nutrition/exercise has kept them at bay. Kansas also has great homebirth laws! And I want to do the right thing. I've had experiences in the temple where the Spirit has borne witness to me that the choice to have another would be a blessing and not a burden, but that's the thing right there --it will be our choice. We aren't being told to have more. We aren't even being told that to stop now would be the wrong choice. It's simply our choice.
And that, dear reader, is why this is so very, very hard for me. I've always been so obedient. I want to do what God desires and I want to do the right things because I firmly believe in His perfection at knowing what we need. I know that when I allow God to guide me, I am so blessed. But I also have to be in agreement with my husband on this. The spouse who doesn't want more children always gets their choice. I honestly don't think God will send us another child unless we want it to happen.
So, when people ask me if we are finished having babies, and I say, "never say never," now you, dear reader, know what I'm really feeling.
Confession: I'm learning that I much prefer yard work to housework. Unfortunately, that housework is more demanding and less forgiving.
I hope you have a great week, dear reader.