After last night's blog, "Home is where the heart is", my mind has been flooded with all sorts of memories of what made our home so special. Memories filled with love, laughter and a few tears.
There are 8 children in my family. We are spread out literally all over the world. There is a big age difference too. All of this plays a part in the fact that we are not ALL able to get together very often. There is probably good reason why we shouldn't all get together at one time! Ha!
1. We moved to Chattanooga the first few days of December 1979. My brother Tom was a Senior in high school and did not want to leave for that last semester, he stayed in Joplin. He did come for that first Christmas. Tom and I had a favorite cake, chocolate with cherries mixed in the batter. We convinced mom that cherries needed to go in the icing too. I do not remember why we did that or why we thought it was so funny because Mom sure didn't find it amusing! I guess the icing was runny and she couldn't make it right, I'm not sure, I don't really remember. Here is a little secret (sorry all WF supporters) I hate folding the newsletter. I don't know why because it isn't a big deal. It drives me crazy! Christmas Eve that year was spent folding the newsletter, eating chocolate cherry cake with weird icing well past midnight. Maybe there were a few tears over folding the newsletter, but that night was filled with laughter and that's what I remember.
2. In 1984 my parents thought it would be a great idea for all the kids and their families to come home for Christmas. Chris had to work, had a baby and was pregnant and could not make it. Tom was in the Air Force and stationed in California with no leave. There were 10 grand kids at that time, I think. It was a full house. Micah had been adopted and arrived in the US only a few months before. We had seen him a couple of times, but he was still getting to know us. One morning Mom and I were sitting on the kitchen floor watching cookies bake. I'm not sure why we were doing this, maybe we were trying to hide! Ha! We looked up and sweet little Micah was staring at us from around the cabinets. The first couple of times he looked at us like we were crazy, the he ran back to their room. The third time he smiled and then ran back. Fourth time he must've thought being crazy was fun because he came over and sat with us! That began a special lifelong bond with Micah. When it was all over with our vents had been stuffed with 2-3 bags of cooked egg noodles, a big box of crayons glued upright to the concrete basement floor, and many other things that now bring much laughter!
3. Since my parents didn't learn anything from that Christmas, they decided to have another family Christmas in 1994. By this time there were 25 grand kids! Is it bad to admit that I was so happy I had my own house a few blocks away and Lacey was only 3 months old so I had to take breaks with her? Haha! It was crazy! Mom decided it would be a lot of fun to make Christmas cookies with the grand kids! I don't think she has made Christmas cookies since! The house had 10 feet ceilings. We found icing, flour, dough on the ceilings. There were feet print on the walls, Mom had to re-paint walls once everyone left. It was crazy and still kind of stresses me out thinking about it, but I wouldn't trade those memories for anything.
Two of my brothers have now passed away, only making those memories even more precious. The grand kids are all grown up and most have kids of their own. This makes it even more rare that we all gather. Makes those precious memories easier to hold and wanting to hold on tighter!
For me, the house or how ever fancy it is decorated or furnished, or if I pull out all the different holiday or seasonal decorations
"HOME is where love resides, MEMORIES are created, FRIENDS always belong, and LAUGHTER never ends."
That sounds cheesy! Cheesy or not tho, the older I get the more I realize it is true!
For as long as I can remember my mom made our house a home. Not only for us kids, but for our friends! Friends were in our house all the time. I was 10 when my sister started at OCC. Our home was their home away from home. They were there all the time. They sought out the place they could go and feel a little less homesick. My brother Tom was still in high school at the time and his friends came by to raid the pantry and to talk...and probably to see what college girls my sister had brought home. When we moved to Chattanooga and lived across the street from the church, it was the same for my friends.
Our house wasn't always seasonally decorated or over the top, but it was welcoming and inviting. It was a safe place, it was a home away from home for my friends. There would be days I would come home from school and my friends were already in the house or waiting on us to get home. My mom always made sure she had "the regulars" favorite drinks and snacks in the pantry and fridge! I am assuming since they kept coming back they felt loved!
We also had crafts, talks, laughs...even had an easter egg hunt when we were 17, 18, 19 years old.
Those days in Chattanooga are some of my best and favorite memories! Although we moved away from there 27 (eek! really?) years ago, it is still home because I left a big piece of my heart there.
When Lacey became Middle School age, without planning, our house became that house in our neighborhood. There were kids here all the time. Kids were here when Lacey wasn't! My heart was here and it was home!
Lacey's Freshman year at college, kids came home with her even for an hour! Kids would come to the car when we would visit Lacey to say hi and I hope to help ease that homesickness.
Tonight, My heart is in Haiti and I wish I was HOME! I find my heart in Haiti a lot! I find myself wanting to be home, to my family that welcomed me a long time ago, no questions asked.. I love seeing Francius Joseph! We grew up together. Despite cultural and language differences we are so much like brother and sister! Our greeting always starts with me saying he has a big head and him saying something back to me and then laughing and hugging. I love the first hugs from my kids.
Tonight is a little different. Francius called me with urgent news that 7 of our kids at the Jesus Loves Me Home have the Chikungunya virus. This virus is not deadly, I know they will be ok. This virus is carried by mosquitoes. It causes fever, vomiting and painful joints. I've heard the pain in the joints is so bad that you cannot move. I want to be home to hold my babies. I want to be there to try to make them feel better. Our two youngest and two 6 year olds are the worst and have gone to the hospital. They have been vomiting and have not been able to eat for a few days. Please pray for all the kids sick with this, but especially for the 4 littlest babies.
Now that Lacey is off at college, I find myself with way too much time to think. For me, thinking leads to worrying and worrying leads to worst case scenario. So I thought maybe blogging and putting some of my thoughts down might help myself. You never know, at some point I might come up with a clever thought or idea in the process!