No, I'm talking about LIFE--the great big, amazing, surprising, ever-changing, sometimes terrifying, sometimes gloriously perfect, God-written book of life.
This morning, I was passing this photo collage that hangs on the wall in the stairwell of our "new" house in VA. (I need to put the word "new" in quotes now; because as of March 20, we have been Virginians for a whole year already.)
|My boys! (If you're thinking this is the most adorable quintet of lads you've ever laid eyes on, you're spot on! #truth.)|
How does that happen, anyway? You turn your head for one minute...But I'm here to warn you, it will happen, mamas: your children will grow up. Meanwhile, you'll feel exactly the same age you were when they were in diapers, so it's a very strange phenomenon. (You will not look as young as you did when your babies were in diapers, unfortunately...but that's a topic for another day.)
Yes, once upon a time, I was the fresh-faced mother of very small boys. It was all I'd ever wanted to be, from the time I was a little girl: a full-time wife and mother, a homemaker (and I don't care how antiquated and un-PC that sounds!), taking care my home and family. All my hopes and dreams were fulfilled, all my prayers answered, when God gave me five sweet sons to raise and a doting and supportive husband who made it possible for me to do it without working outside the home. God has blessed me so much more than I deserve, and I am constantly reminded that to whom much is given, much is expected.
When our four oldest boys were between the ages of 3 and 7, we moved into a lovely Colonial house on an idyllic acre-plus of wooded property on a quiet cul-de-sac street in NH. Two years later, we welcomed a fifth son. This was our home--in every possible definition of the term--for more than 26 years.
But God works in mysterious ways, doesn't He? Who would have thought that three of our boys would end up settling in Northern VA, two within minutes of each other and the other less than two hours away from them? If we picked a spot somewhere in the middle, we decided, we could see all three easily and our new house could become the perfect gathering spot for their growing families. But no, we thought; we could never, ever sell our NH house. It's too full of memories! We've put too much sweat equity and love into making it the perfect place for us! Our house is practically a member of the family! Maybe it doesn't make sense for us anymore, but we could never sell it and move somewhere else. We just couldn't do that.
Never say never, my friends; because do that we did.
A year ago, we moved to a small Virginia town that we have grown to love. Our town is surrounded by bucolic rural vistas (Horses! Cows!), and everywhere we go, we can see the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. We've joined a new parish run by two of the most holy priests a thirsting Catholic could ever hope for. (Not that we didn't love our old parish; but liberal thought in the Northeast is so pervasive that even in the parking lot of Catholic churches, you will see bumper stickers promoting pro-abortion political candidates. Not so here in NOVA, thank the Lord.)
We made this move for our children and grandchildren, of course, and that alone would have been worth it; but it would have been so much harder if we hadn't been as pleased with our new adopted hometown as we are. I am a manic nester; I burrow in and fill every space with comforting and familiar furnishings and mementos, and after I've feathered my nest, I find change very difficult. That's why last year, the Lenten season was marked by sadness, stress, and exhaustion: I was dismantling a home that I never thought I'd leave, and all I could see when I looked about me were memories of a long and happy life lived there, surrounded by growing boys. Getting that house ready to hand over to a new family was, for me, the hardest Lenten sacrifice I could imagine (not to put too dramatic a spin on it!).
|As I swept the attic out attic one final time, this is the pile that went into the dust pan: it tells the story of our life in that house, doesn't it?|
The incredible thing is that not too long after we moved here, our oldest son moved to the area, too, (probably just for a few years, as he begins a new career where he will originally be working out of DC; but we'll take what we can get!). In fact, while he was in training in another state, his wife and their four girls lived with us for a couple of months, until they were able to find a suitable house to rent. (They found one, just 17 minutes from us!)
So never fear: just when you think that part of your life is over, that wonderful season of hearing little feet going pitter-pat around the house, this is what will happen.
I am so happy that I kept most of the toys our boys played with when they were young. They
are being enjoyed all over again!
I'm going to end this post (which I think of as a celebration of the one year anniversary of living in our new home) with a few pictures from our recent St. Patty's Day celebration--with all four married sons and all 12 grandchildren in attendance.
See those little people in those pictures? They're just a few of the very good reasons I'm not posting much here at the blog these days. Being a hands-on Grammy is almost a full-time job. (I'm "off" today, and taking advantage by blogging this morning, and later on going to Confession and Mass.) And just like being a SAHM to five little boys, it's a really good gig.
Even if you have to sell your home and move to a new state to get a gig like this, I'm here to tell you that it's very much worth it.