It’s been a week since I last posted anything. The delay hasn’t been because I’ve run out of anything to say, but rather because I just haven’t had the time to sit down and write. Last week, of course, featured Thanksgiving day and Black Friday. That put the boys home from school, which doesn’t exactly help the writing process. We also had the big family meal at our house Thursday. Wednesday saw a lot of preparation for that and Friday saw a lot of recovering from it. I spent much of Saturday finishing up my Sunday morning sermon, and then yesterday featured a lot of errands topped off with Ryan’s j.v. basketball game.
I could say that it’s a busy time of year, but that would imply that there is one that isn’t busy. When you have two boys who each play three sports, you don’t get an off season. I sometimes find myself looking forward to the time when they’ll be out on their own. Then I have to remind myself that I should be savoring these days when we are all under one roof.
When I take a bird’s eye view of my life, the days of having the boys at home are a relatively small percentage of it. Since Ryan is three-and-a-half years older than Royce, let’s approximate those days at 25 years. Even that is giving both boys credit for checking in at home occasionally while they attend college. (And, yes, I do expect them to go to college.) So if I live to be 75 years old, 25 years would be one-third of my life.
But isn’t it funny how that one-third is intense enough to dwarf the remaining two-thirds? It kind of reminds me of what I said about our big family meal last Thursday. It takes you a while to prepare for it and it takes you a while to recover from it.
Please understand that the last thing I’m doing here is complaining about having kids. Truly, I’m in full agreement with Psalm 127:3-5, which says:
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The Fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. (N.K.J.V.)
I’m merely pointing out the obvious fact that the daily grind of raising kids can wear you down. For example, for Christmas to be a magical season for them, moms and dads have to make it happen. And there’s certainly nothing magical about shopping malls, traffic jams, and spending money, is there?
It’s interesting that those verses from Psalm 127 describe grown children as being both weapons and protectors for their father. The passage refers to them as arrows, which makes them weapons. But what does it mean that they “shall speak with their enemies in the gate”? Well, in Bible times they didn’t have courthouses, law offices, or register of deeds offices. A city’s legal transactions were conducted at its gates by the elders. Disputes were settled there as well. So, speaking with an enemy in the gate would have amounted to representing your father in a legal dispute between your father and his enemy. That, you see, covers the idea of children playing the role of protectors.
I have to say that I like the sounds of all that. When I’m older I’ll no doubt need not only some weaponry but also some protection, and these will be two of my rewards for doing a good job at childrearing. Until then, though, I’m still looking at a lot of work and expense.
Are there joys and blessings along the way? Sure, far more than I could name. I mean, it’s not like everything about the task falls under the category of “grind.” And, furthermore, I fully understand that my responsibilities as a parent won’t end when the boys leave home. Trust me, I have no plans to abandon them when they get to be adults. I guess today I’m just feeling a little run down. I probably need a vacation. It would do me and Tonya some good to get away for a while. Then again, the last vacation we took we had Ryan and Royce right there with us in the van. Oh well, forget that.