By about this time next Friday, five of the six of us in our family will be home and then I'll pick Erin up from the airport on Saturday night at about midnight.
Erin has been in Germany.
Allison has been in Chicago.
Blake has been in Orange City, Iowa.
Gary and Dylan and I have survived the semester at home with just the three of us. Through the miracles of technology, we have been able to see the other three kids quite often on facebook video chats.
I'm excited to have all of us home again. I'm also a little nervous. It may take some time to adjust to living in close proximity once again.
Erin had her own apartment for several years and now she may live with us for a semester while she does her student teaching in Cedar Falls.
Allison loved exploring Chicago on public transportation and being on her own. She's looking for a job, but she may be occupying her usual spot on our couch for a while until she finds something.
Blake has enjoyed dorm life and the freedom of being a college student.
Will we survive the readjustment period? I think so. Because we love each other and we are family.
Maybe you're looking forward to the holidays with a bit of trepidation as well. Having all of your children (and possibly their families, too) back under your roof can be fun but it can lead to some tense discussions or situations where everyone gets on each other's nerves.
We must go into the holidays with realistic expectations. It will not be perfect. Do not expect it to be perfect. When things don't go as planned, remind yourself that it's okay. Your relationship with your children (whether they're two or forty-two) is more important than whether everything looks wonderful on your holiday table or if everyone loves the gifts you picked out for them. If someone gets a little cranky you don't have to let it ruin your celebration by responding with just as much crabbiness.
Try to talk to God as you go through this Christmas season. Pouring out your joys and your disappointments to Him can be one way to make it through the holidays with grace. Reminding yourself that God loves you completely may help you keep smiling even when you get some negative vibes from college-age children who think they know much more than you do. (Not that I ever get such vibes from my children, you know.)
We want our children to come home and visit during special times of the year like Christmas. Sometimes that isn't possible, but we still try to connect somehow with our families. It's even more important for each of us to "come home" and connect with God during this special time of the year.
I hope you have been connecting with Him all year long, but if you haven't, now is a great time to spend some time reading the Bible and talking to Him. If you've been far away, it may take some time to readjust, but He is a perfect Father who is ever so patient with us and longs to spend time with us.
It's time to come home.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30 NIV)
Are you nervous about the holidays? How can focusing on God give you the right perspective and help you not just endure your holiday celebrations but really enjoy them this year?