Sunday, January 16, 2011

This is a Home Where Children Live

This time last year Joe and I were sending our son, Adam back to finish up his senior year at Baylor University...and our daughter, Jenna, back to Benedictine College for her sophomore year.  This was our second year to be home without kids.  Our dog, Pirate had just celebrated his 15th birthday and I was very concerned about his failing health.  I also  kept thinking that when Joe traveled for work, I would be alone if we lost Pirate.  So I set out to find another incredible, lovable Australian Shepherd.  

As luck would have it, right before Christmas I got my puppy Ellie--Pirate and Ellie were settling into their new co-existence.  Joe and I were settling into ours too!


Ellie and Pirate

Joe continued to fly for Southwest Airlines about 15-17 days out of the month...and I was working long hours for a nonprofit.

Kathie, Jeff Schroder from CBS web show 
and Pres. of CCA Scott Orr

Needless to say, the house had a sense of order, a solace that I surprisingly relished, because I honestly dreaded being an Empty Nester.  In the 24 years I have been a mother--I can honestly say that for the first time...within the last two years anyone could drop by the house on any given day and my house was presentable!  I could have an uninterrupted conversation in person or on the phone...Joe and I got use to being alone too!  In fact, we often referred to our Empty Nest status with delight as HONEYMOON II!  

But alas...that was all to change.  Jenna decided she wanted to take another career path, and came home in the spring to attend community college with the plan to go on to Cosmetology in the fall of 2011.  In the meantime, she would be living at home.  

Kathie and Jenna

There's more!
That's not all--Adam, graduated from Baylor University in May. 


Ducati and Ellie meet!
While he anticipated attending grad school in the fall, he decided to sit out a year, teach private trumpet lessons and play anywhere they would pay him to play trumpet, guitar, or sing...

...oh, and he too would be living at home...with his dog Ducati...his plan now is to go to grad school in the fall of 2011.  

Sweet Ducati

Oh, and our oldest daughter, Sara married her college sweetheart Ryan in June!

I adore our adult children...just not all of their stuff.  So the summer opens with Adam insisting that in order to prepare, and stay in tip-top shape with his trumpet playing he really needed a piano.  I told him we were not buying a piano, nor were we putting a piano in our home.

However, after searching all of the local resale stores, he sent me message: 

Getting 5 guys to help move = 2 large pizzas 
Purchasing a dolly and floor pads= $25
Buying a fully functioning upright IN TUNE piano from resale= $62  
Seeing my mom's face when she saw the piano in the garage= priceless

So let me paint a picture of my NEW solace--there is my sweet husband, Joe, Pirate and Ellie...Jenna, Adam and husband, three dogs and two kids.  (So much for worrying about being alone!)
In the center of my house there is an ugly (sorry Adam) upright piano that IS IN tune.  The living room has become a trumpet studio with music stands, sheets of music, trumpets and trumpet cases.  The entry way has large acoustic electric guitar amp...not to be confused with the electric guitar amp...that actually resides in his bedroom.  His bedroom...her bedroom...dare I even go there?  And what about their bathrooms?  My beautiful home is often littered with food bowls, pop cans, water bottles and wrappers.  My kitchen cabinets have no glasses in them because they are all in Jenna's room. 

Adam is not the only offender...Jenna typically has her clutter spread out in the game room--or more accurately--her stuff has spilled over from her bedroom to the game room.  There is typically colored paper, scissors, a hot glue gun, a camera and laptop.   

Now, we also have the challenge of not worrying about the kids as they come and go.  

Dinner.  The truth is when Joe is on a trip I have been know to select between two dinner choices...cereal with or without milk.  Now with two other adults in the house, I feel compelled to cook...a real meal...utilizing the food pyramid or four food groups--I keep getting confused on what is appropriate now...but there are times when a meal is in the oven, or even worse, ready to be placed on the table only to discover that the kids have made dinner plans, or they are working, or they have already eaten or they just don't like what is on the menu.  Frustrating.

I know what you are saying..."Whose in control?" or "Who trained whom?"  And as much as I can gripe about the junk, not to mention truly detest their lack of housekeeping skills and where they choose to put their STUFF ... I love hearing Adam's music in the house again.  I love seeing the projects Jenn creates.  I love seeing even occasional "sightings" or glimpses of these young adults while they transition into adulthood.

As moms, we often brood about the changes and passages our kids go through once born.  We revel from the moment they enter the world, marvel infancy, exhausted at trying toddler-hood, invigorated as they hit school-age, dream of their potential as they move into their teens, beam as they are launched with their high school diploma.  As our children move through these milestones, as a mom--I find I morphed into a new stage of motherhood--sometime with love and compassion, moments of brilliance, times a miserable failure...but always with motives of deep, unconditional love.

So while I sit here blogging about the downside of having my kids living back at home I can't help but recall the poem I savored as a young mother:

by Judith Bond
You may not find things all in place,
Friends, when you enter here.
But, we're a home where children live,
We hold them very dear.

And you may find small fingerprints
And smudges on the wall,
When the kids are gone, we'll clean them up,
Right now we're playing ball.

For there's one thing of which we're sure,
These children are on loan.
One day they're always underfoot,
Next thing you know, they're gone.

That's when we'll have a well kept house,
When they're off on their own.
Right now, this is where children live,
A loved and lived in home.

I really love having them home...because I really love them.

Once again, I Lasso the Moon with love!