Full-house holiday

My mom has 8 kids born to her, and 3 more that she welcomed as adults when she married Ron after my first dad died. We don’t all end up in the same place at the same time too often. But on holidays when all her kids manage to come home, my mother has a special glow about her. For years I smiled and enjoyed her pleasure over full-house holidays. But I didn’t understand her joy, really-truly, until this last year when my own kids began to move out and get lives separate from my own.

This past week was an especially good one for me.  John and I spent a week on the coast with our kids– 12 of them if you count Eldest’s husband, and Second’s boyfriend.  (And we do!)  Despite the rain and the squeezy conditions around the dinner table, oh, we had a good time.  Games, movies, walks on the beach, hikes, sleeping late.   A lovely vacation.

This weekend was an especially good one for my mom. My baby sister Sophie surprised her by sneaking home from Ethiopia, of all places, and showing up in her bedroom on Easter morning.  The farthest-flung of my siblings were let in on the plans so that they also could be there, coming from California and Washington and New Mexico to join in the celebration.  This morning at church extra chairs had to be brought in to fit all the visitors, many of whom were my siblings and their children.

Fresh back from that ever-so- precious week on the coast with my husband and kids,  I greeted my siblings and their spouses and their children with an extra ration of joy, freshly aware of the precious blessing of gathered family.

As the first hymn began,  I sat down with my husband and children.  Eldest and her husband, who usually attend church with his family, squeezed into our pew at the last second.  I’d been hoping they might come, but I hadn’t planned on it.  We scooted over, joyfully making room for them.  As voices swelled singing Easter joy, with loved ones all around me, I found myself swiping errant tears.

First of all, I am so thankful for the gift of salvation earned me by my Saviour.  Second of all, I am grateful for the ones He’s brought me to love along this journey of life.

It is so precious to have them gathered together.

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  1. What a great time and fun photos. It made me choke up thinking about having family all together. My oldest sister is in Guam right now, can’t wait until her little family comes back and we are all together for a holiday.

  2. It is wonderful to have family all together. We’ve been invited to another family’s Easter celebration the past few years. They’re a family of 8, only 1 girl in the mix. They’re all retirement age, but make an effort to get together often and treat us like family. I was thinking this year how I want my boys to always be that close and have their families be together like that.

  3. Joy – pure and unadulterated – thank you for sharing it!

  4. Pure and unadulterated joy is right!! God is SO GOOD!!!

  5. I loved reading about your family time! My husband looks forward to the time when we will have adult children, but we have a long time to wait as the oldest is a baby :)!

  6. Oh, I love this line!

    “Second of all, I am grateful for the ones He’s brought me to love along this journey of life.”

  7. love these pics..

  8. Mary, I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now and always plan on leaving you a comment, but then…life sweeps me away.
    I had to tell you though. This post brought tears to my eyes.
    You see, my oldest daughter is going to be leaving the nest very soon. She is 19 going on 20 and my youngest is 20 months old. And honestly, letting her go is…so painful.It hurts my mamas heart. I just can’t quite “see” my life with out her here and I especially can’t see the part where we will all be together again the way you described in this post. This mom stuff is hard work and I just love that you wrote about the sweetness of all of your family coming together again. I especially love that your sister came in from Ethiopia to surprise your mom. It’s funny how as mothers ourselves we can finally and really relate to our mothers and how situations make them feel huh?
    Thanks Again!
    Love both of your books too!

    • Hi Kristin,
      Yes, it is very painful to see them grow up, isn’t it?– even as it also brings joy to see them happy and successful.