Our balancing act…



Gotta love the tongue and his homemade slingshot in hand…


Our two year old goes boneless {drops to her knees in a fit on the floor } and we wonder how we will get her out of the car without wrenching our backs.

Our Ethiopian teenager loves to debate the semantics of homework versus assignments versus reading… What? We just need to know what work you have to do tonight and every night buddy in order to pass your classes.

Our middle middle joined me after a meeting the other night at the grocery store for a few items and when I insisted he choose only a fruit or vegetable, he spent a long time in the produce section to then beg me for a coconut. Really Carter? We brought it home and split it only to discover it was rotten inside.

We make it to church in two cars and while all the kids are in their worship centers we listen to the sermon with a stillness I cherish, but it doesn’t last long when my husband announces that we need to leave quickly as he must get Big O to his game by 2:00 and it’s at least an hour away. I look at him like he is crazy but he insists. They make their way to the game only to discover he had last week’s schedule in his head. Good grief. So instead of soccer it was a Daddy/son afternoon.

Ava naps and I take Carter to his game 25 minutes north.  Thank God for our seventh and eleventh graders who hold down the fort during naps. Carter just starts warming up when it begins to rain buckets, literally sideways and they wait for nearly 30 minutes under a little tent that is barely intact before the other team calls the game.  Not a bad idea seeing as how the goalies were going to need snorkel gear.  We make our way home, drenched and shivering.

Ava had been asleep for less than her alloted nap time when I smelled something awful coming from her room. I climbed the stairs and the smell about knocked me out. She had pooped in her pullup and decided she no longer wanted to wear it. Really little peanut? Potty training is such a joy. I called for help from the boys who nearly vomited with great dramatic effect so I sent them on their way and did the clean up myself.


Everyone was finally in bed when I sat next to our 11th grader who had spent much of his day researching Buddhism and Christianity. He needed to type a five paragraph paper comparing and contrasting the two religions. First of all he does not type and secondly, he has never been taught to piece together a basic essay. It was a painful couple of hours but we managed to pull it together and my favorite part of the evening was watching him create a fancy cover page to showcase his work. It spite of all it takes to trudge through 11th grade here in America, he is certainly willing to give it his all. Thank God for humor and teachers who are learning right alongside us on this journey.

Then there was the seventh grader who came to me insisting he must change from the oboe to the bassoon cause it is more melodic, rich in sound and of course bigger. I looked at him with glazed eyes and reminded him that perhaps his band teacher would not appreciate the change at this point in the school year. Guess I’d better send that email asking the teacher to concur.

Some days my brain hurts from all that it takes to meet the needs of five children who need a good deal of this and a litle of that.  They are all so unique and spirited. There’s not a one in the bunch who just seems to sit calmly having an introspective moment, well maybe if I consider the photo above.  Of course the apple does not fall from the tree and I had a friend remind me yesterday that God knew lil Ava would need to be strong in opinion and voice to be heard in our family. Bob and I just chuckle as we watch all the exchanges between siblings. Sometimes there are no words and even though they are not all biological there is nothing that separates them in word and action and closeness.

Our days and weeks are a straight up trip on a road I wish I could plug into google maps just so I could find out what was around the corner.  I’m just keeping it real when I tell you that I find parenting to be the most challenging and humbling job in the world.  I fall asleep wishing I had a guidebook or someone to call for full respite and then I pray. God I know you have this… all these children are yours. Please just give me the strength and wisdom to love, respect and honor them the way you want me to. I can no longer recall the days before I prayed fervently through each moment of my parenting. Thank you God for being right there alongside me for this wild ride.

2 thoughts on “Our balancing act…”

  1. Oh Melanie. Thank you for sharing. Your writing makes even the crazy times seem so fun and adventurous.
    I love keeping up with you guys this way.
    With the photo’s included, I read it twice.
    Peace and Blessings.

  2. Ditto x 53!!!!!
    I understand 🙂 I have 3 very strong personalities and with 3 more on the way….my husband and I say they better be ready for this crowd. I don’ t think I would know how to parent a quiet, reserved personality….although it sounds divine! Keep it real Melanie, keep it real!

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