In a nutshell?

How can I sum up my day in a nutshell? EIGHT CHILDREN! Does that tell you all you need to know? I have been the very fortunate stand-in-parent to my friends’ three gorgeous children for a couple of days now…add to that two other children who needed somewhere to be so that they would not be alone…and the Coad household suddenly became a too-small venue for my burgeoning empire of children.

Eight kids is not many for me…not when they are this well behaved and this funny and silly and deliciously cute! But they are too many for this small three-bedroom house…especially when six of the eight are testosterone fuelled, lightsabre-armed boys with dreams of fighting monsters, slaying siths (or being siths) and defeating threats heretofore unknown to man…so we took the chaos outside.

Had you passed the playground near my house at ten this morning, you would have laughed to find one thirty-six year old woman doing Jedi-training with six little boys and two girls (one very little, one not little at all). We had lightsabre skills training and then a sudden death tournament followed by a rigorous Jedi marathon (She not stupid…she who make children run, also make them tired…and hungry!) followed by a round of shouting Q & A into the ‘Echo tunnels’ (a pedestrian underpass). The humble folk of Hallett Cove now know how many continents there are, what the name of the purple Wiggle is and who the red monster on Sesame Street is. Then we ran home to avoid the rain, ate noodles, watched a movie and played Pictureka for Skittles (nothing like a sudden death round of doodle-finding with stakes as high as a single Skittle per spot!).

Then there were seven…so I took a phonecall, made fresh bread-rolls and hamburgers and tied untold numbers of shoelaces, and made more snacks!

Then there were six…so I fed them, bathed them and made them brush their teeth before subjecting them to five episodes of Shaun the Sheep. Then we moved six mattresses and six children and one set of fairy lights into the dining room for a sleep out. There is no room to move in there but six sleepy little heads breathe gently in the room next door while I type this and think how blessed I am to be surrounded by children! They are our future, they carry the dreams of tomorrow and all our hopes with them…and I get to make memories with them today, and tell them they are funny, clever, strong, brave, beautiful, precious, loved and that they belong. I am captured by the thought of all that potential in one little room, by all the dreams they might be dreaming and all the possibilities crammed into their small bodies. I am lucky because (for all the right, pure and honourable reasons) there are people in the world who would give all they had to have one child to love…and I have so many. I intend to spend many more days not doing housework, not making phonecalls or doing anything ‘productive’ so that I can build, invest, encourage, love, pour myself into these little people who are growing even as we speak….

…and apologies to the friends whose birthday cards I should have mailed, whose e-mails I should have answered and who are waiting for me to return a call. I will be with you in a day or two…when I can think in a straight line again and the playdough under my nails dries enough for me to brush it out…though I may still have a monster or two to defeat and a doodle or two to track down.

Why don’t you join me in the trenches and make a memory that your kids (and the children you have the privilege to love- nieces, nephews, grandchildren…) will treasure in their hearts long after the actual memory fades. Children hear the message without needing to understand the words; they remember the love long after the need of your company fades. Our relationship with our teenagers begins with our toddlers! Love them now so that they know you love them when everything else is changing too fast for them to handle…

Love is the only thing that grows no matter how of it you give away…actually, correct that…the only things that continue to grow no matter how much of it you give away are love and cellulite…

I have plenty of both…and willing to share. : )

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. kathy wight
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 01:18:39

    Arianne, God has gifted you with such a wonderful heart! A heart for writing and a heart for children. How fortunate are the children who are being cared for and loved by you! I love reading your insights and exhortations and encouragements. God bless you richly! love, kathy

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