These past few days that I have been home on vacation, I've come to scary realization. My eldest baby is growing up and we are running out of Christmases in which she will still be living with us. Where did the time go?
Her boyfriend of almost six months is here in town on PTAD until January 3rd and has been spending as much time as he can with her. He's a wonderful young man and he treats her very well; it's just really hard to see her dating someone. He also outdid the husbands this year on Christmas morning. He gave her three different small rocks that he had written "I Love You" on. These will be something that she will treasure, especially during the long stretches that they're apart. Where did the time go?
As Tyler opened his presents this year, his first Christmas with us, I couldn't help but recall each one of my child's first Christmases with us. Jessica was 5 months old, and she managed to get sick on Christmas morning. She slept on a blanket next to the Christmas Tree. Vanessa was just 8 years old and had been living with us for 5 months. She was amazed at our traditions and really enjoyed our Advent story every night. She was a little nervous on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but was pleased with everything that we did. Suzanne was also 8 year olds and had been living with us for 6 months when her first Christmas with us arrived (last year). She went along with the flow of things and was only slightly nervous on Christmas Eve. She was in awe over how many presents she had to open (we had a significant number of presents for all of children donated to us for Christmas since we were foster parents; we were very blessed).
As they opened their gifts one at a time, I couldn't help but feel a little sad, as I realized that one by one, they would all be leaving home and starting their own family traditions. I also realized that as boyfriends, husbands, etc. begin to join our family (as well as adding more children through adoption), there may not always been enough room to have a formal sit-down breakfast. We figured out a way to have 20 people cozily sit down for breakfast, but we'll have to resort to paper plates and plastic utensils, or have two sets of different style dishes and silverware. I'll also need to get up a lot early to make enough food! This year there were 11 people for breakfast.
So, after feeling melancholy for a few moments, I made a resolution. To enjoy what little time that I have left with them and cherish the moments that arise that I'm able to spend quality time with each one of them. I've decided that these next few days that I'm off that I'm not going to focus on what I want to do (scrapbook), but look for opportunities to spend time one on one with each one of my children. Today, I took an opportunity to spend a few moments with Jessica and I helped her clean her room. We were able to laugh together about some of the strange things that we found in her room and tease each other about our definitions of "clean". Amazing how dissimiliar these definitions were!
This week is flying by, and I'm sadden by this, but I'm going to make the most of the time I have left.
(I have to share this right now, Jessica, the boyfriend, Suzy, and TJ are all in the kitchen with TJ and Suzy singing Christmas carols quite loudly to the teenagers while Jessica makes the boyfriend dinner; couldn't ask for anything more!)
God has blessed me with a wonderful family and I need to make sure that I am cherishing it. Next week Mark and I will be celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary and I am extending my resolution to include him also. I want to cherish the people that God has given me as my family.