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Monday, August 14, 2017

10 ways to know...

With 8 kids you can image that there's a lot that goes on around here. Lots of opportunities to parent. Even the one that doesn't live here any more, still requires parenting, or rather now we call it just being one of my best friends ever, but still I think that counts. If we add it all up, which I often do in my low moments just to validate all I've done, survived, enduredaccomplishedsuccessfully parentedunsuccessfully parented participated in as a mama over the years it's an astounding total of 109 years of parenting. So I'd like to make it clear that after all this time I still feel like I'm wingin' it in the parenting department. Seriously folks, most of the time I question what I'm doing, and I often look back with regret and apologies coming out of my mouth, and thank the Lord that I haven't totally messed up our kids for all times. I think God knew I needed especially resilient children. 

That being said, I do report many things that go on here in our crazy house on the blog. Both good and bad. Happy and sad. Funny and tragic. (Well... when our dog died back in January I just couldn't bring myself to talk about it, so not that.) In hindsight I am totally amazed at that things we've gone through with our kids. And our kid's friends. And our friend's kids. Sometimes really freakin' hard stuff, and if you can think of it, there's a better than not chance that we've personally had experience dealing with it. 

So hopefully it makes sense that I do not write about everything that goes on in our family. If you know me, you know I'm usually an open book because I believe there is strength that comes from owning our weaknesses, and the power to change things only comes after acknowledging it. But mostly because of privacy issues, and because teenagers are... well... teenagers, there are many happenings that I don't share. Good and bad. And this post will be no exception to that rule. That's why there's isn't a ton written about them. As they grow, their privacy becomes critical. So I'm not about to start blabbing about their idiosyncrasies anytime soon. 

So let me share a story with you about another mother, of a whole different family, in a different household entirely. Not my family mind you. But my dear friend's family and her young adult person. A story we shared over coffee recently. 

10 ways to know if your teenager has had multiple parties a party in your home in your absence... you know, like when you are at Little Cabin in the Woods for the summer on an extended vacation on the Outer Banks in North Carolina with your Aunt Marge and Uncle Weldon...  

1 - You scraped up gum off the floor and no less than seven places. 
2 - A door is not only off the hinges but off the door frame. Frame and all. 
3 - There's not just blood on the floor, but blood on the walls. All over.
4 - A window is broken. 
5 - You actually witnessed the aforementioned party on the security monitor that your teenager didn't know you had installed.
6 - Along with a lot of dried-up mystery liquids, you find 8 dead flies in your refrigerator
7 - You find a lot of laundry that doesn't look familiar... including girl's clothing. 

Do we really need 3 more reasons? 

Of course I've been consoling my friend and stuffed a towel in the gaping hole in the window until she could get it repaired. No judgment from me, just commiseration. My friend and her child are just like everyone else's family, going through good stuff and hard stuff all at the same time. I love her, and I love her kids and she's the same with me. I've been there. We've made mistakes and so have our kids. So have her kids. Haven't we all? And please don't tell my kids, but I kinda think that's what some teenager's job need to be, to see where the lines in the sand are drawn. And as a parent that's part of my job, to continually point out and repetitively redraw those lines when necessary. And I'm so very thankful that I can do that while they still live in my house, because I'm a safety net that loves them and catches them unconditionally, no matter what. 
No matter what. 
No matter what.
No matter what.
***She says repetitively to remind herself of this important fact.***

Now you'll have to excuse me. I just found more gum that needs to be scraped off the floor. 

Or rather my friend's floor. 


  1. Replies
    1. 109 years and this is definitely a first for me! That kinda surprises me. Maybe it shouldn't. I don't know.

  2. Let me help your list.
    8. The chairs in the backyard are unstacked and placed in a circle.
    9. Within that circle are several cigarette butts.

    (It happened to my friend too.)

    1. My first thought was, well at least it wasn't a bong! Then my second thought was, well maybe a bong was better than cigarette butts? And then I got into a big philosophical debate with myself. My friend has asked these questions of herself often.

  3. My oldest son was trusted at home for the weekend when we went to visit older sister at college. After returning home, we took followed the clues to find out he had two parties over the weekend. After he admitted it and punishment was handed out, he said, "That ok. It was worth it. I am famous". Must have been a great party. Needless to say, the two younger brothers were never trusted alone at home. Boys.


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