Extraordinary Days

In these two weeks:
Matt started sophomore year
Andrew and Patrick will begin first and sixth
Janey celebrates her third birthday (can you believe it?)
Andrew celebrates his twelfth
we drop Abbey off for her first year at college
Isaac drives himself to his last year of college.

I am tired from an intense summer and must pull this all off.

A friend asked me earlier this month how I feel about dropping Abbey off, and honestly, I'm emotional, but it seems in this house (and moms of large families please does it seem this way to you?) everything happens all at once.  (Remember when I gave birth to Janey the night we dropped Isaac off at college the first time, which happened to be Andrew's birthday?) I want to savor the moments, I don't want to live always thinking of that "next thing" I have to do, but sometimes I do have to check off my list, and move on to the next event.

I told this friend that I feel like it's all a blur sometimes. I have a hard time really contemplating any of it at this pace, and I am hesitant about feeling too emotional when faced with each transition. Really, I am afraid I would just cry straight for weeks at how fast my children are growing up and leaving this house and that would be bad on my sinuses if not a little emotionally disturbing for the children. It would also inhibit me from moving to the next need down the line.

I was feeling guilty about that-that blurry feeling, that on-to-the-next-thing mentality-and then I had a revelation:

God knows what is best for me.

As much as I wish I had more time to dwell on this event and that emotion, I need to accept that I am not a bystander, I am the conductor, the hostess, the producer-yes, in these roles one can enjoy one's work, and have wonderful moments, but they have a duty and an obligation to fill that weighs heavy.

I realized in a split second that God knows what is best for me-he knows that I need to move forward, to not dwell, to keep my hands and heart and mind busy, which is why He gave me these six children, and many chores and responsibilities when there are big life changes.

It does and will continue perhaps to happen all at once around here, maybe that is the nature of having a big family and this is His way of protecting me from myself and deep emotion.  It will fly by, this life of mine, but I am here in the thick of it. When I realized this, I felt the pressure lift off and began to feel calmer, and stronger, and filled with gratitude for this incredible role I have been assigned. He has given me the work I need to move forward, and He supplies me with the strength to handle it all.


  1. It's amazing how you speak to my heart some days. I have 3 children, would have loved more buts that's another story. The amazing thing to me is how I can feel so overwhelmed by all I have to do & desperately want to hide for an hour and the at the same time, I panic at how fast it's all going by & how I'm missing out on things with them (even though I'm a SAHM) who is always home! My children are 11, 10 & 7. I think with a family as big as yours it's impossible for there not to be something happening!

  2. It's so refreshing to read your words. I am 34 weeks pregnant with my fifth. My oldest will be 8 a couple of days before my due date. My body is done being pregnant but I don't want to wish away my time with my children. I don't want to rush on to the next thing or stage. Yet it feels like everyone around me wishes it for me. They tell me don't worry in a few years they will all be in school and I'll get a break. Not that I don't want a moment to myself, but the years go by fast enough I don't want to hurry them along. Not to mention that once everyone is in school I think things will really be hectic.

  3. "God knows what is best for me." Yes, He does. Thank you for the reminder. I really need to remember those words right now.

  4. Well said Sarah and so wise! I remember one of your posts many years ago that said (in so many words) our job as mothers was to work ourselves out of the job. I think of that a lot when I get weepy about things. My youngest is getting on the bus to Kindergarten this year - I will be falling back on this post too! Thank you!

  5. Yes, Sarah he does know what we can, and can't handle, and knows what is best for us! And you are handling & raising your children well. As you know I have four, but they are all five years apart, and while my oldest is deferring her second year of college to serve a church mission, my youngest is entering kindergarten all while having a fifth grader going through hormonal changes, and a sophomore in high school who is amazing at bringing peace into our family. But God is amazing, and he truly does know what is best for us! We got this! Take care! xo

  6. I have FINALLY learned not to mourn so much as my kids move from one stage to the next. I think God knows that if He didn't keep us busy with "the next thing" our hearts would break with every new chapter. Rose is right...we got this!

  7. My oldest (of 4) is starting her senior year and boy, did I need to read this today! One thing that helps is the knowledge that I never wished to get to the "next stage". I remember enjoying each baby and toddler stage so much. So while the every day is frequently a blur of homework/carpool/dinner prep/mom, where's my blah-blah-blah, and I admit to getting stressed at the cacophony, I am in the moment. I'm never wishing ahead-I know that it will be here soon enough.

  8. You always speak to my heart. Ever since I found your blog (years ago!) I have felt like you were voice for all these swirling thoughts in my head.
    I just gave birth to twins (surprise but nevertheless welcome babies 9 and 10.) During the last 2 months my two oldest were in an accident that left the college bound one stuck in bed with a badly broken leg and at least 6 month recovery. To top it off we are going through a difficult move to a new city which requires leaving a beloved home and enrolling 5 children in new schools. Reading your words today gave me a good perspective. I know God IS helping me, giving me the strength to deal with it all. Perhaps it is as you say, His way of helping me to not dwell on the hard parts, to just get through it all and get on with the life he is leading us to. Because honestly, with several things going on I want to drag my feet and second guess decisions, but there really isn't time for that!

  9. Perfectly said Sarah! Like the above comment, my oldest of 4 is also starting his senior year. The days may drag sometimes, but boy do the years fly by. I can't believe that Isaac is starting his last year of college, and I hope Abbey transitions easily to college life away from home (and I hope you do to:) God Bless!!

  10. I always cry when they grow up and move on to college, at their weddings, at the birth of their babies. But then I am so happy for them and the adventure that awaits them and happy for me, because I let my role as a mother change a little as they move out and a lot when they marry. I find it liberating. And then I look at the little duckies I still have at home and pray for patience to continue nurturing them. Great post, as usual, Sarah:).

  11. Love love this post. I can so relate to it. My older two boys are starting their sophomore and junior years of college. My only daughter got her permit this summer and is starting her second year of high school. My precious little boys will be in first and third grade. Times are definitely changing here at our house. There are times when I feel so sad that the older boys are getting older and moving on, but then there are times when I am completely at peace with the cycle of our family. I am trying to soak up every minute I get to spend with all of them. I am so grateful for Gods perfect plan for our family and just the tiny bit overwhelmed that everything happens in the same week! Good luck with all of your transitions, I hope they are all smooth.

  12. Thank you! I am the mother of 10 and often come to tears I don't get to soak it up but just seem to be chasing, pulling, and running through parenthood. However in my quiet decision to have each one I have felt God's nudging. Thank you for your wisdom and strength. I have learned, been lifted, and empowered by your posts. You bless many you don't know. Thank you.

  13. Thank you for this. I only have two children, but also work outside the home (sort of- I have a home office), and have a husband who is gone long days and not able to be involved in much day to day. This freed me so much- God knows what I need. He knows I would sit and sob for days if given the luxury, and instead keeps me hopping and doing my job. What a great perspective!

  14. Yes, yes and Amen! Thank you for putting into words so many of my own jumbled thoughts. I needed to hear this today. I have enjoyed your blog for years and am overjoyed that you are posting again. Thank you for sharing!