You Ask

Last night our CF3 (Catholic Family Faith Formation) parenting group met.  There are three couples and 17 kids.  We usually have a college friend come out and take care of them all just to keep them all occupied for a good 90 minutes while we meet and read and discuss parenting strategies and swap stories, but we're currently phasing into letting the older three boys manage the group.  They'll be responsible for planning activities, keeping the kids corraled, distributing treats, and maintaining calmness. It was a little crazy this time, but it's bound to get better each time.  100% of the time, we are encouraged. 

The kids are all the same ages and I'm thrilled that these friendships are being formed and hopeful that they will stand the test of time and that they too will encourage and support each other even when their interests may not remain common.  We don't all have the same number of kids.  We don't all have the same boy to girl ratio.  We don't all have the exact same interests.  But we do have the same goal as parents:  to lead our little souls to Christ.  We're currently reading and discussing the book "Discipline That Lasts a Lifetime" by Dr. Ray Guarendi.  We don't always stay on track, but it seems no matter how deviated from the topic we get, we always benefit.  Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we're all in this together.  Many times we can at least help each other find humor in particular struggles, whether or not we can personally relate to them. 

For intstance, here is the card I received for Mother's Day from Melissa.  We laughed so hard!  And I was truly encouraged, because if someone actually made this card, it means that it doesn't ONLY happen in my house!  I love it!

Because of these friendships, and the friendships of our children and the common ages, we often swap kids overnight if we're meeting on a weekend.  Even when we don't, the asking happens.  The asking ALWAYS happens.  I'm glad it does.  For the most part, they understand when we can't make it work out.  We try to be spontaneous as often as we can, knowing that if someone needs something, chances are we have extra in their size. 

Last night, Jakob wasn't here, but the three Brox boys stayed.  The plotted request was posed like this:  "Can the older boys stay the night?  We'll get up in the morning and do extra chores.  We'll take out the fence and work on the garden and clean up the basement."  How could anyone say no to that?  We chuckled, knowing that wouldn't really happen, but told them yes, and just cleaning up the basement would be sufficient.  Not wanting to be left out, the two girls (Ellie and Mattie) asked next.  We've decided that for now, play dates are better for the two of them.  There was a little bit of "I'm scared" drama last time we tried a sleep over. 

Naturally and almost immediately after these first sequences of requests, Isaac and Joseph walked into the kitchen and sheepishly stood side by side at the legs of their fathers.  "You ask."  "No, you ask."  "Just ask."  Tim and Tim, sure that the boys were mustering up the courage to ask if they too could have a sleepover, patiently waited to see how their request would unfold.  Finally, after a bit more prodding, Isaac asked the question:  "Will you button his pants for him?"