Family: the gritty and the good

I scrawled out the cheery ending of this post a couple days ago. But by the time I was ready to actually post it, there’d been enough rough moments and hard bits that it didn’t feel very representative of my week.  Sure, I want to be a cheerful encourager here, but I don’t want to mislead you to believe that life at the Owlhaven is all sunshine and sweetness.

Far from it.

A few brief examples:

~Three kids have colds. One of those sickies spent the entire day griping about everything.  When I gently suggested the cold might be contributing to the dismal mood with which the kid was torturing me, the kid had the nerve to ask why I blamed it on the cold. “Just trying to be charitable….” I sighed.

~The teens often beg to go to the library during the school year, but since library visits always end up with fines and lost books, I usually say no.  Knowing how much they enjoy the library, however, I resolved to turn over a new leaf this summer.   I announced that we were going to the library, expecting happy kids.  Instead TWO of the teens complained. ‘Do I have to come?’ Another asked to go to the library in the next town instead of our town, explaining that our town’s library ‘stinks’.  Never mind the fact they could order whatever they want at our library.  Obviously my plan had been to torture them, not please them.

~On the way to the library there was a near death experience when a certain young student driver almost drove our minivan into a mailbox. Why? It seems she was looking into the rear-view mirror to see what her sibs in the back of the van were talking about. Yikes.  Silly me for expecting I could use that quiet bit of road to work on my grocery list.

~Finally, at the library one of the kids managed to wander around for 25 minutes without finding ANY books to his liking. At that point we had to leave because one of the sick kids was all worn out and needed to get home. (I probably should have left her home, except it seemed cruel since she was actually EXCITED about the library.)  At that point my options were: make the sick kid stay longer to accommodate the pokey kid, or make the pokey kid leave without a book. I handed the pokey one a couple books I’d grabbed for him, which he tossed into the van disdainfully as we drove away. More ‘mom is horrible’ vibes wafted from the back of the car on the way home.

When hubby came home and we finally got kids sent to bed, (yes, it was still light, but they had books to read) I unloaded a long gripe session on him. Poor man. Followed, a few minutes later by the only thought with which I seemed to be able to cheer myself at that moment. It was— I kid you not: ‘well, at least I have some cute new clothes right now.’

Because, apparently, at that moment I was nothing if not piteously, ridiculously shallow.  Possibly also hormonal.

Hubby laughed at my silliness, and quickly added, “You also have cute grandchildren.”

Which thought made me melt into a mushy smiling puddle of gratefulness and resolve to go visit them, leaving my ungrateful  but much-loved teenagers at home to fend for themselves. Maybe, someday, they’ll miss me. Except they won’t.  At least, not until they need to be driven someplace.  Thank heavens my little girls still like me.   (OK, OK, the bigger ones do too, usually, even if they didn’t show it today.)

And now that I have showed you the grumpy side of my thoughts, I will share the just-as-true, but much more chipper thoughts that I wrote earlier this week.


One of the unexpected pleasures of having married kids, and now grandbabies, is the extended clan that our daughters have gained.  Always we as parents want our kids to have good support.  I’m just so thankful to see how both our daughters’ new families have embraced them, and now our sweet grandbabies as well.

AscherLauraErika and Israel have to travel to Georgia to visit with his family, so it doesn’t happen super often.  But they all love Erika and of course now sweet baby Ranger.  To the right is a picture of Ann, Israel’s mom, with Ranger.

Then there’s our eldest daughter Amanda and her husband Ben.  They are blessed to have Ben’s family living close by. As I think I have mentioned before, our families were homeschooling friends for years before Amanda and Ben ever became sweethearts.

With the grandbabiesThese days it brings joy to my heart to see Laura (left, above) snuggling sweet little Ascher, the grandbaby that we share, and to know that Amanda and Ben have his family’s support as well as our own.

Family:  it’s such a gift.  Also, a note of encouragement for you weary young mommas, (AND us weary mommas of teens).   Grandbabies?  They are the best thing on earth.  They make all the work so very worth it.  Aren’t these little faces just adorable??  I truly believe that God gave me grandbabies now because He understands how hard some days are for me right now and He knew I needed a taste of the joy further ahead.  His graciousness brings tears to my eyes.

Me with Ascher

So what about your week? What was hard? What was good? How do you succeed at finding joy when the hard parts threaten to overwhelm you?


  1. andiekids says:

    being a mom to a teen was hard for me this week too….watching your child choose to fail and to let them make that mistake is soooo not fun

  2. Your kids were that way too? I think it must be in the water. 😉

    Thank you for sharing your struggles and triumphs this week! I must confess to laughing at your narration of the less-than-glamorous parts. It’s so much easier to see the humor when it’s not our life, eh? 🙂 You always encourage me!

  3. Kate in NY says:

    My 3 teenagers are always complaining – “How come you’re so nice to May?” (May, at 10 years old, is the youngest of our 4). We tell them honestly – because May is still nice to US!!!”

    • I try to keep some positive vibes regularly heading the teens’ way anyway– knowing you, I’m sure you do too. 🙂 But you’re so right– it is way easier to be nice to someone who’s nice to you. I’ve given my teens similar explanations when they think our little kids have it too easy.

  4. We are about to have a teenager in our home later this summer . . . but our 11 year-old is the one who’s an early bloomer in the attitude struggle. A friend of mine with older kids told me that she and her husband would always “lean in” to the orneriness, and try to carve out some fun one-on-one time with the child who was giving them the most grief. She said it was surprisingly disarming for the kid to realize, “Oh yeah — these people are *for* me, and love me.” Thanks for sharing about the not-so-fun side of parenting — I appreciate your transparency!

    • Yes! Somewhere else I read that you need to find a ‘thing’ to share with each of your teens. One thing my girls and I do is look at clothes on Pinterest. I also ask their advice on my outfits; they like to weigh in and help me figure out what looks good, and it always makes for fun moments together.

      Thanks for writing!

  5. Thanks for revealing the hard stuff on here, and not just the “fluff”. Parenting is hard, no matter what the age, and the more we can encourage each other the better. Hopefully this is a wave for you and it will be on the upswing soon 🙂

    Grace. I have been whispering it to myself in breath prayers for the past month. Grace for my kids. Grace for my husband. Grace for the store clerk. Grace for myself.
    I had been thinking to myself very negative thoughts about myself, kids, and husband when God whispered this word to me. “Grace”. Over and over again.
    Such a small word, but it packs a punch
    II Corinthians 12:9
    “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” Amen.

    Hope this helps, I love reading your blog you are a great encouragement to me.

    • Thanks. Grace is such an important word to remember. Another thought that has been a good reminder to me is from a necklace that was given to me at the ‘Created for Care’ conference I went to in the spring– it says “Love Big.” I wear it often because it is a reminder of what I want folks to remember about me. And of course it is exactly what my kids need.

    • And yes, the very next day folks were in better spirits…the difficult days come and go. Thanks for the encouragement!

  6. Bridget says:

    Some days do seem to push us to our limit!! I know all too well having 3 teenagers at home. I think sometimes I see what is happening with the household and freak because I think this will never end. Women tend to look into the future where our husbands just try to solve it and be done with it. I am a bit of a worrier and that gets me into trouble at times! I think we need to breathe, know that this will not last and hope that we all can learn from our mistakes. Live in the today and don’t worry about tomorrow so much. My kiddos seem to act up when they need my attention. Its tough though cause teenagers aren’t always ready to let you in. It’s all in the timing!

  7. As a mother of 9 with 3 teenagers (the oldest 3) I often thank God for my littles who bring so much joy! And still like me most of the time! Thank you again for being honest and real.

  8. I only had one, but I grew up with three and have many friends with multiples. Every one of these scenarios sounds quite familiar. Thanks for keeping it real. 🙂 I’m actually fighting through a period of “I have no ambition to do anything with my life right now and just want to play on the computer when I don’t have to work at my PT job” that is starting to really annoy me. Any suggestions for how to encourage a never-school-oriented boy to actually go to post-high school classes?

  9. Oh, I’ve had many similar moments this week! I offered to take the kids out for burgers as a last-day-of-school treat and got a “meh” from a teenager and a screaming fit from a younger one unhappy about his seat in the car, which completely took the fun out of it for me. At one point I hollered, “You kids are going to decide to make some changes or your summer is going to SUCK!” So then I joined the ranks of people behvaing badly. 🙂

  10. Oh, Mary, I agree, grandchildren are the best things on earth! Such a joy and special blessing. Our first grandchild was born last November and she is absolutely the light of our lives! I had always heard about how wonderful grandchildren were, but really, I had no idea. I’m so thankful to be close to my granddaughter and able to spend several days with her each week. I can already tell we’re going to have a very special bond.
    On a side note, it was fun to see Laure reading The Seven Silly Eaters to Ascher…one of my favorite children’s books!