Every summer tells a story, and our summer story always includes one family-and-fun-filled week of organized chaos. Each summer since my first niece was born seven years ago, we take a vacation with my whole family- my parents, sister and brother-in-law, nieces, my husband, kids and me. Five kids and six adults, one house, one amazing, fun, crazy week. We take the kids somewhere every morning, throw them in the pool every afternoon, cook family-style meals for eleven in the eleven in the evening, then throw the kids in bed and pull out the adult beverages and games for game night.
It’s both heartwarming and totally entertaining to watch the kids grow by a year each vacation. There was the very first year with just one baby, then 3 months old. All six adults hovered around and cooed at every burp and gurgle. It’s a wonder she was ever put down that week. And the year the second baby (now 4) insisted on emphatically requesting anything she wanted with eardrum-shattering shrieks. All the adults spent the week jamming their fingertips together in increasingly desperate attempts to get her to sign “more” when she wanted something.
I heard a sermon once in which the pastor said he and his wife decided their governing principle while raising their kids would be “to raise kids that would want to come back and hang out with their parents when they were grown.” They went back to that governing principle whenever faced with decisions on how to best raise their kids. I loved that idea, although it’s much easier in theory than in practice. It’s especially tough when you’re in the trenches with little kids whose primary job is to test boundaries and verify the EXACT limits of what they can and can’t do. And the EXACT boundaries of your parental patience in the process. But I know it’s possible because the week I get to spend with my parents and family is my single favorite week out of our year. And that’s a story I hope to repeat.