It was fine; thanks for asking:-)
It started before dawn, when I found five children asleep together in the family room. Apparently, when you're sad at bedtime and you live in a big family, you snuggle in with your best buddies to sleep. I looked up from a cup of very strong black tea and saw Paddy, ready to go. He indulged me in a picture. After he and Mike left and before the children awoke, I had some very peaceful quiet time. I'm forever grateful for God's voice in the quiet.
Michael and Kristin brought me roses for my birthday last night. On a whim, early this morning, I set them together with our JOY luminaria on the hutch in the foyer. I always hate to put those luminaria away after Christmas. This year, I think I won't. So pretty.
The children all woke at once. Karoline and I had a very solemn conversation about the State of the Family while Katie played with my camera. Then, all at once, it hit Kari. Hard. She began to sob and blurted, "My whole childhood will be people leaving!" There was a bit of a deluge, I admit. And Katie saw it as a picture moment. In all honesty, there is a truth to Karoline's observation and it worries me sometimes. But we aren't the type to hang out in the puddle of tears.
We planned a tea party to celebrate girls and invited Hilary to come after school. I set Karoline to work in the great meditative art of flower arranging. And Mike sent me a picture of Paddy. There he was, looking out at a view I know and love so well. His dorm is almost exactly where my first year dorm was. Since I seem to have a struggle with dorms in general, it's nice to find comfort in thinking of it as a place where I was very much at home. I envision his room with matching peach comforters and curtains we made minutes after we got there--- oh, but that's the 30-years-ago room. I doubt Patrick will even make his bed.
Back at home, we set a very pretty table, complete with a beautiful bouquet that Megan sent me yesterday as a centerpiece and individual bouquets for every guest. I couldn't help but remember that Mother Teresa said you can never have too many children or too many flowers. Indeed.
Hilary arrived and neither of us cried. Big high five there, girl! We might have been helped by Stephen, who agreed to meet her at the front door wearing a bowtie and escort her to her seat. Big brothers are the best. They really are.
And then, unprompted and unscripted, but definitely inspired by Christian and Nicky, Karoline rose to give a toast. To a girl house! The numbers have shifted. We have more girls in this house than boys. A dozen years ago, when Mary Beth was the only girl with five brothers, I could never have imagine such a thing. God is full of surprises, no?
The last few months have been exhuasting, exhilarating, excruciating, exciting, and extraordinary. Words will never adequately express how grateful I am for your support. Your notes and texts and instagram comments, and especially your prayers, have so blessed me and my family. Thank you.
Good night, y'all.