We spent a whole week at my parents’ house, with almost all of my siblings and all of our offspring. Twenty-five of us, give or take. Sleeping bags and suitcases, baseball gloves and crocs, plastic cups and favorite books — in every corner. Laughing and shouting and screen doors slamming. Coffee maker always running. Kickball or baseball constantly being played. Meals being prepped and planned and consumed. Bedtime stories and prayer by candlelight. From 5:40am till the last adult hit the sack each night, there was activity — because with that many excited people, there’s action even in the being.
Can you believe that 11 children, tired and high on the good life, can enjoy one another for a whole week with barely a squabble? That 14 adults can enjoy those children, and one another, for a whole week? That grandparents, who are “supposed” to be relishing “their” space, would be beyond thrilled to let their home be invaded, their time and energy demanded, their every moment drained? That single siblings would spend their one week of summer vacation in settling baseball disputes, painting toddler fingernails, changing diapers so their mama-sisters can have a break, carrying babies, making sandwiches, sharing beds with little people whose little feet kick all night long?
I come away and think, This. This is pro-life. This is pro-Kingdom. This is pro-God. This is the joy of lives that have said a thousand times at a thousand junctures, You increase, I’ll decrease.
And I see on my children’s faces that their little hearts are cups overflowing with the ministry of love.
Most of us, heading out along a bike path.
Brothers, happy and full.
Mama does not buy carbonated treats, but Nana. Nana does.
William shares his appreciation at the big joint party.
How days begin.
Early morning entertainment.
Pretending to be Almanzo.
Most of us at the Almanzo Wilder Farm.
Summer memories worth savoring. Family moments that build. Blessed kids.