As Kathy and I have aged (yes, I’m afraid it happens to nearly all of us) we have noticed a troubling trend: that our children tend to grow into their teen years, start driving, develop their own distinctive interests, and eventually leave the house. This last school year has been unusually quiet, with Joshua, Rachel and Daniel all away at their colleges.
That is not to say that David and Sarah are TOO terribly quiet. David plays the piano (and occasionally the drums) and Sarah can be counted on to fill the house with the sound of her Les Miserables soundtrack day and night. But it cannot be avoided: there is a big difference between five children and two, if only in terms of the noise they make stomping up and down the stairs and slamming doors.
When the kids were growing up, we worked hard to foster a strong sense of family identity, favoring relationships inside the family over outside friends or interests. It seemed to us that if our children could become lifelong friends with each other, this would be a good and precious thing. And so we scheduled family movie nights, celebrated every possible occasion, played lots of games, and generally strove to make our home a warm, cheerful, fun place to be.
And yet, the kids had different inclinations, and the age and maturity gaps between them sometimes seemed insurmountable. As our boys have grown into young men, and our girls have blossomed into young ladies, their interests have typically diverged even further. Kathy and I sometimes worried whether our kids would choose to be close to each other after they were grown.
Now, as the college kids are returning home for the summer, a new and delightful joy has gripped our home, as our kids rediscover and enjoy each other, more than ever. Whether it is Daniel teaching Rachel how to ride a longboard, or watching all of them play a dice game together at the kitchen table, there is a deep and satisfying delight in seeing their relationships with each other deepened (or in some cases, reforged).
To add to the fun, Joshua and Kelsie have arrived on a whirlwind visit from Tennessee, and my heart is full, having all the young eagles back in the nest for a few moments.