I’ve had all five of our children home for one week out of this whole summer. Something wonderful and sparkly happens when the five of them are reunited at home. I can almost see a glitter aura snap, crackle and pop as they interact. We have a way of being goofy that only we can fully understand. In our kitchen it is a ruckus of laughter, teasing, and reminiscing of silly antics from their childhood and a lot of singing. In the midst we share favorite songs on the speaker as we cook. Kira loves to dance and shake her booty (using her own words). She takes each of us by the hand and it is soul train to country music or gospel in the LaTorre kitchen.That’s my kind of wonderful.
We all prepare the meal. Take a tip from me moms, get your boys in the kitchens early and make it a requirement to always help get dinner on the table, but also make it fun. Not only will it be the place where you make the best memories, but also you will give them independence and skills in the kitchen. Finally, I don’t have time to do it all, I need their help. Why not turn it into a party? Dancing and cooking go great together.
We sit at the dinner table for hours in our house. I should tell you that we didn’t put our nice table at the front of the house in the “dining room”. We put it in the great room parallel with the sofa. It takes up the most space and it is front and center in our home. The little space in our kitchen that is supposed to be for a breakfast table has another sofa and two chairs. Everyone is always lounging in my kitchen, but not in the way of the cook. I highly recommend a sofa in the kitchen.
The other night we began talking about first memories, we talked about silly things each of the boys did as they grew up, and we laughed til our food splattered on our plates. We sat there for hours, and Kira never left her seat. She too feels it when we are all together and doesn’t want to miss a single giggle. We shared how seamless it is to have her as our sister. How she arrived in the family is a little different than how the boys got here but her presence is solid. The best word I can find is: seamless. We can’t remember what it was like to be a family without her in it.
Tomorrow Craig and I take Jordan to college. My face drops as I consider the weight of this truth. He’s bursting with readiness. In many ways I am also ready so see him spread those wings. He’s going to Oklahoma Baptist University, eight hours away. It is a small campus and perfectly suited to his style of learning. We are not sending him with a car. He has to earn that with consistently good marks. I think he is feeling separation anxiety as he realizes the Durango will be in the hands of Kevin who now has his driving permit. If anyone has a question about automobiles, he has the answer and it comes with the sort of enthusiasm parents wish their children had for their studies.
We’re going to have three children at home. Jack started middle school this week in the homeschool division of our life. Kira begins full time school when we return from Uganda. This all goes so fast. Donny graduates college this year. Where is my emergency break? When my horse takes me for a ride that goes too fast I can give him a half halt that says “come back to me”. If he doesn’t, I pull the emergency break. I wish I had a half halt with my children. My family is slipping through my fingers like oil, much of it sticks but most of it moves out. That was the original plan, but I am feeling sad, having doubts. I’m hugging Kira and Jack a little tighter these days. Kevin is our new project. He has three years of high school and then we’ll be taking him off to college. He has to learn to drive, run errands, do laundry, and be too busy for girls. That boy is in tennis and theater at school, so we only get little pockets of time with him. He’ll be loading up the back of the moving truck before I blink. With that thought I understand how critically important the dance party in our kitchen will be tonight…the last one until Thanksgiving. I’m going to turn the music up and put on a party dress. When I feel sad, I find a reason and a way to laugh. I never want to have regrets.