Friday, January 20, 2023

Houseguests and New Houses...and So Much More

When you have a lot of children (and not that the five my husband and I have is that many, but it's enough for what I'm about to say to be true), it seems that there are seasons where one is definitely more in need of your help and support than the others and becomes your focus for a while.  But then inevitably, life happens and another one of your chicks moves to the front of the parental assistance line.  That's just the way it goes.  It helps if your kids know deep in their souls that you don't have a favorite (we joke about that constantly in our house, but I think the only reason it's funny is that our boys know we absolutely do NOT have a favorite; we have five of them). 

It also helps if your kids aren't score-keepers (our boys aren't), because it always ends up that when all is said and done, each child gets what they need, when they need it--at least they get as much as we can possibly give them, as inadequate as that might be.  Sometimes it seems that one of them is getting the lion's share of our attention and support, but if so, it's because that one just needs it the most at that moment.  For instance, in the months after our fourth son's wife gave birth to triplets in 2017, Papa and I spent a good deal more time helping them out than we did the others.  Because, you know: TRIPLETS!

But the triplets are 5 now, and in pre-K, and their little sister is 3; and their parents finally have moments now and again when they can breathe easy and think straight.  So for now, son #4 and his bride are not first in line.  For the past month or so, our middle child, son #3, has taken over that spot.

1986: Son #3, when he was about
 the age his youngest is now, with his dad.

2023: Son #3 as a dad, with his two
youngest children.

On December 12, son #3 and his wife moved into our house with their five children, aged 8, 6, 5, 3, and 9 months, while waiting for the work to be finished on the house they were having built.  They had renters moving into their old house and were going to be homeless for perhaps a week or so.  They hoped to be in their new dream house (their "forever home") in time for Christmas.

Having a house built in 2022...not for the faint of heart!  So many delays.  So many hidden costs.  So many disappointments.  So many issues with their truth-challenged contractor.  It's been a bit of a nightmare for them, financially and every other way you can imagine.  One week stretched into two, then three, then four...

So they've been living with us for over a month now.  Their three big kids are sharing a bedroom (the two girls in a double bed, the oldest boy on an air mattress).  Their mom and dad originally got assigned the other upstairs bedroom, with two twins pushed together and a port-a-crib.  The 3-year-old girl started out in the crib, but eventually started sharing the bed with them.   The baby boy has also been sleeping with one or the other of his parents.  (Be warned, little guy: sleep training in a crib begins at the new house!!)

Over Christmas, our youngest son and his wife were staying in our cozy basement bedroom, which has a queen-sized bed.  But once they moved out after New Years, son #3 moved down there, while his wife stayed upstairs in the room with the twin beds.  They've been juggling the baby and the 3-year old between them ever since.

Not ideal sleeping conditions, but they've been making it work.  (And Papa and Grammy have kept their master suite as a kid-free zone, a sanctuary of peace and quiet.  Because hey, we're old and we've earned it!)

Really, though, this has been a special time for us.  We always knew that our middle son was an amazing, hands-on dad; but getting to see him in this role up close for so long, day in and day out, has been a unique blessing.  He really is something.  He does it all: baths, bedtimes, making lunches for school, cooking breakfast.  He is 100% all-in, sweet with them but not afraid to get tough when the situation calls for it.  We are so proud of the way he has embraced the vocation of fatherhood.  I believe he had the very best role model in my husband, who always thought of himself as a father first.  Airline pilot was just the job he did to keep a roof over all of our heads and food on the table.

Here are some images that tell the story of this hardworking young dad, our beloved son, whom we admire so much. This is typically what I see when I come downstairs at about 6:00 a.m.:

Lunches lined up on the counter, ready to pack
in lunchboxes. (Can you tell he's in the military?)

Eggs frying while little peeps wait.

Isn't he the best?

The light is shining at the end of the tunnel for our boy and his family (or so it seems; we shall see!!).  Two final inspections were failed earlier this week, but there's another one scheduled today.  If they get their certificate of occupancy, they'll be moving out very soon.  Their household goods have already been moved into the new house, so they'll be good to go.  It will be so much better for them to be there.  Our house is about an hour from the kids' Catholic school (and where our son works), so they've  been getting up that much earlier Monday through Friday to make that long morning trip.  I'm sure they'll be thrilled to be in their own place, with their own routines.

And I'm sure that once they're settled in their new house, and all is right with their world, another one of our boys will need us in some way.

Actually, we already have our next help-out planned: we'll be taking a trip to Nashville to meet grandchild #20, the firstborn of our youngest son and his wife.  That happens in about a month or so.  

Life is amazing.  And it moves at lightning speed.  Our baby boy just had his 30th birthday--which means that all five of our boys are in their 30's now!! Yikes!!   (Until our oldest turns 40 in the fall...double yikes!!)  Our youngest son turned the big 3-0, he and his wife just bought and moved into their first house, and they're going to be new parents soon; this is a big year for them, wouldn't you say?

I still can't believe he's 30!

I'm not sure how to end this post, except to say that I am humbled by how blessed a life I've been given.  It's just too good, and too full.  I thank God every day for my strong and loving marriage, for the five exceptional boys He gave us, for the wonderful girls they married, and for the beautiful grandchildren that just keep on's almost too much to process sometimes.  

And I am eternally grateful that we are still young (ish) and healthy enough to help them out when life throws them curveballs.  Wanting to be there for them as long as possible is what keeps me going to the gym when I'd rather be eating chocolates while reading a good book or watching a Netflix show!*

#boymomforever  #ilovemyboys  #grateful  #blessed  #lovingtheGrammylife

*Full disclosure: I do these things too, more often than I should!


  1. God is so good! I totally get even right now with littles that sometimes one needs more than the other. I love how you've described it! I will be praying for #3's family to be in their own home and for a safe birth for grandchild #20!

  2. Love this! 💖💖 and 🤣🤣🤣🍫📚