No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it. 1st Corinthians 10:13

Jul. 2, 2008

My Big Canadian Family

I am not a regular blogger; I have not made it a habit to sit down and write everyday. I envy (intake of breath) those who do. I enjoy writing, but right now it is more of a tool. I'm not the best at communicating my thoughts and feelings; there seems to be a disconnect somewhere between my brain and my tongue and much to the frustration of those who are close to me, I tend to speak in half sentences. Sometimes I'm sure I've said something, but in reality I've thought it and said little

This past Sunday we had ALL of our family gathered. It was the first time we'd been together in the same space since our time away between Christmas and New Years. It was the first time we'd been together in our home (affectionately referred to as "the Palace) since before Meg and Cam left for their respective countries last September (Meg to the Czech Republic, Cam to the US) and it was the first time we'd all been together since the birth of Tess. Effort, intention and perseverance are words I would use to describe calling all of us together, but we did it. This morning I sat down to send a simple email to give everyone the date of our next gathering.....and it turned out to be a little more than that SO I decided to share it here.

Brad, Meg, Ben, Noah, Cam, Car, Dec, Rhys and Tess too

It was great having you all here on Sunday. I was so looking forward to it; as dad mentioned, you each have had accomplishments this past year and we have much to be thankful for; much to celebrate as a family. Each of you either have or are transitioning into a new place: Meg is settling back into being in Canada after spending 8 months in Europe and will be heading into her final year of undergrad in the fall. Ben has completed his first year of University, has moved out of the house (or flown the coop) and is enjoying making some money. He's also enjoying spending time with a certain special young lady.....Noah has graduated from high school and finds himself single (...right, Noah??). He's looking into some online courses for Sport Management and has already had a couple casual meetings, one that was completely out of the blue. Cam, somewhat like Meg, spent 8 months out of the country and is enjoying his freedom once again. I can't imagine being that close and not being allowed to enter; I'm sure it was harder than any of us thought. Kudos to you, Cam. Carleigh graduated from grade 8 and made the Honour Roll; she also enjoyed her first year of voice. Of course, Dec goes to the washroom like a big boy. Rhys.....well, he's graduated to "big brother".

I wanted to say something the other night, but words failed me. I can't explain to you the thoughts and feelings that I have.....in almost any given day they range as much as your ages do. I have "kids" that are adults who deal with all of the issues involved in being a young adult. Career choices, what school to attend, finding a place to live, work issues, relationships..... I also have "young'uns"....a 4 year old who has a very active imagination and wants to draw and write and colour and learn; a busy almost-three-year-old who is into everything!!! One minute I'm after him for getting into something and the next minute he's got that big, beautiful smile that lights up his face and his arms wide open, looking for a hug and "tiss". "I love you too, mom"!! Well, that's what he is saying, though that's not quite what comes out. Then there is "baby Tess"; you can't help but smile when you look at her 'cause that's what she's doing. Such a happy wee girl.....I love her so much.

I love you all.....so much.

And yet I know that there are times when I frustrate you; there are times when I forget how quickly the time passes and I spend too much time "doing" and not enough time "being"; there are times when I say one thing and yet I do another; there are times when I open my mouth knowing that I am speaking in frustration and I'll end up saying something that I'll later regret.....I know there have been times and there will be times, far too many times, when I'll come to you looking for your forgiveness.

Meg, thanks for taking the time to come. Thanks for driving Cam, Carleigh, Ben and Vanessa here from church and for taking Ben and Vanessa home afterward. Thanks for making the potato salad, too! Ben, thanks for making the time and for sharing Vanessa with us. Thanks for fishing in another pond, honey; she's lovely....deep down lovely! I especially enjoyed looking down that long row of "my kids" and seeing her worshipping! I would love to get to know her more. Thanks for taking the time to throw the football around with Cam. Next time, Ben, we WILL play Euchre!! Noah, thanks for the amazing job you did at cleaning up and for just being you and making me smile. You have a gift, bug; a gift for relating with people where ever they are at. Cam, thanks for the amazing job you did at setting up the table; wow, good silver and everything. I was impressed!! As much as I appreciated your offer to Indian leg wrestle, I'm sure you can imagine why EVERYBODY turned you down. Carleigh, thank you for all of your help with the little people; you are good and sweet and kind, thoughtful and helpful. I could not manage around here without your help.
Brad, thank you for sharing the past 22 years of life with me. Thanks for loving me unconditionally, encouraging me to look beyond what my eyes can see and for supporting me. Thanks for reminding me when I take things (including myself) too seriously.

I was watching some little show on Treehouse TV with Dec and Rhys last night....I don't know the name of it but it was about the Chinese New Year (kinda like a Chinese version of Dora.....). Anyway, there were five characters carrying a dragon. One of them, I think it was a tiger, stomped off in a huff because he didn't think his job was important, leaving only 4 left to carry this dragon only the 4 that remained couldn't do it. The 4 end up encouraging the little tiger of his importance and in the end he comes back to take his place. Pretty simple message....and not a new one in this house, yet it had me thinking.

Each of you is a piece of something bigger here and when one is absent, there is a hole. I realize that you all are at different places and a couple of you don't live here anymore, yet when we all make the effort and take the time to gather together there is SOMETHING that happens just because we're together. I'm already looking forward to the next time, so mark July 20 on your calendar.