I always wondered how many it would take. The answer is four in case you're interested.
Four kids and I've crossed the threshold.
What threshold you may ask...
The one that limited the amount of talking I could handle in one given day.
The one that kept me remotely on time for anything at all.
The one that reminded me that everything has a place and everything in its place.
I used to be funny about those things (and a lot of other things as well). Now, I'm happy if people brush their teeth and can find their shoes when we are walking out the door.
Actually, it doesn't even have to be their shoes. It could be someone else's shoes. It doesn't matter to me anymore.
I smile to myself a lot these days over stuff that would have driven me nuts a decade ago but doesn't even register on my radar anymore.
It's a good change. I don't need to be uptight about unfolded blankets, messy silverware drawers or water on the bathroom floor.
Instead I try to focus on things that matter. I try to put my time and attention in things that have eternal value. We discuss honesty and integrity and consideration for others. We work on making hard choices and doing what's right, even when we don't want to. We talk about what it means to follow Jesus and ways we can serve others.
These ten years have changed me. I think it's for the better. Others might disagree.
When my girls think back to the time they spent in our home I want them to remember that I invested in them as people, not in things.
It's true that I still go around at night and straighten up the house, dropping things by bedroom doors that will need to be put away in the morning, but it doesn't bother me. Instead of being frustrated by the shoes, books, crayons and blankets I will gather tonight, I choose to be thankful for the children those things belong to. Because I can't imagine not having them to clean up after.
The mess doesn't bother me anymore. The talking doesn't either. Running late, well I'm working on it.