"No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure." Emma Goldman
It's upon us. School days. I cannot remember a time when I have dreaded that so much as I do this year. I have my reasons, large and small, as to why I feel this way. There's the tiny reasons, like I just don't like hearing the complaint from my children that they can't find socks again. Or that they forgot their coats at school and have to borrow a siblings...only to have that sibling come unglued over it. Then there's the big things like car pool. My goodness I hate carpool. My kids have to be driven to each and every school. 9 kids divided by 4 schools and I spend half a paycheck and all day in the car. It's hard to enjoy the day to myself and my little kids when I spend most of that day taking everyone to and from school. This year is going to be particularly hard with a high schooler, two in middle school, three all day in elementary, one half day in kindergarten and a preschooler. Wow...it's no wonder my cars always break down. The very thought sends me into a tizzy.
But there's more this year. I actually don't want to send my kids away. There has been so much stress this summer that I have really taken to finding comfort in my children. There are no other people on the planet more capable of giving that unconditional love and comfort than a child. They wrap their little arms around you and you can feel it coming like huge warm blanket out of a tiny body. They love us, whether or not we deserve it, they do. I have so enjoyed them this summer. More so than most summers. This year we have been to the beach, Vegas and on day trips around the canyons. I have loved every moment of it.
The beach. That is one of the most comforting places on earth to me. This summer it was even more so with my kids to share it with. They played in the sand like they had never seen sand (I guess some of them had never seen it like that before!). They would just sit and run their hands and feet through it, baking in the warm California sun. We didn't go to Disneyland, Magic Mountain or Universal Studios. They were so content with just being on the beach. They were quiet and happy, and so was I.
Vegas. I love that town, and anyone who knows me knows that. Crazy as it sounds I love the heat, the cactus and the palm trees. It's like a second home to me, always has been. This year when we went we tried a new hotel. This one had a very yummy continental breakfast. As silly as this sounds I really loved walking down there with my kids and watching them eat like they were in a local IHOP and loving every moment of it. We never go out to restaurants. It's just too darn expensive with all of our children. So these moments were like heaven for them and me. They played in the hotel pool for hours and never got tired of it. My kids are spoiled in some ways and in so many others are not. They don't complain about not being able to do things other families do. We can't go to Disney world, on cruises and yearly trips to the beach. We do what we can when we can and they seem to love it all anyway. No matter.
Our canyons. We are blessed to live near the mountains. They are so beautiful. My kids had the greatest time going to the canyons this year to explore new places and see new things. I complained the most on the hike to Donut Falls this year. The kids marched on and loved it despite the fact that I didn't bring nearly enough water and no snacks ( I wasn't expecting such a long hike). They just pushed on with their eyes looking forward to the reward, those beautiful water falls tucked away in that mountain was all they needed.
I admire my children. They are strong like I never was. They are smart. But what I love most is their capacity to love. Every time I have a new baby the love that child receives is like it's the last child on earth to ever be born. They bring them into the family with the most amazing amount of love. Others question our ability to parent a huge family. They question our ability to provide for so many children. What they tend to forget is how these little people are with each other. When the world fails them they are there for each other. When other kids are mean to them, they are kind with each other. Now, don't get me wrong, they fight like the day is long, but in the end they are there for each other. This summer has been an amazing reminder to me of what I have right here in my own home. Just yesterday when sitting around crying my eyes out my teenager (who is supposed to be selfish and self absorbed) ran to get me hot chocolate to make me feel better.
I don't want them to go back to school. I want to be selfish and keep them right here with me. I want to love them, but I also admit I want to be loved by them. They are capable of loving the way no one can.
Become as a little child. The Savior said it best.