…invaded my house tonight.
This is not unusual. It happens most Wednesday nights, and I like it, and I will miss it when it no longer happens. It’s part of the Epic program at church, and this is my daughter’s small group. They meet here most of the time because we are, literally, less than a block from the church. Usually I make a huge bowl of popcorn (we call it a silo) and some juice and they take over the living room, eating, drinking, spilling, giggling…and talking, sharing, encouraging and praying.
Not that I have ever listened to them. My husband and I are upstairs whenever they’re here, and my parents are in their room. The girls have privacy, as they should, so they can feel safe no matter what they’re doing. But I love making our home available to them. Their leaders are wonderful young women. The girls could not have better mentors and role models.
Tonight they were all in their pajamas, having a little party; generally they are only here for an hour or so, because part of the evening takes place en masse (music and worship) before the small groups scatter. But every so often they have an all-small-group night, and they usually do something out of the ordinary, because they’re together for several hours.
So tonight I made homemade dough and sauce, and two dozen saucer sized shells, and the girls made their own mini pizzas, with tons of pepperoni and cheese (and a few veggies offered, because, after all, I am a mom, I have to push veggies). My daughter made lemonade, and I made a sheet of homemade brownies and I thought that should keep them from starvation, at least until they got home for a bedtime snack. And my daughter spread lots of blankets on the floor and gathered up all kinds of pillows and the kids came in their pajamas, including their leaders. How cute were they!
Much giggling ensued. And shrieking, and all kinds of silliness I didn’t even have to see. Some things you just KNOW.
And I remembered when I was the daughter, and my gang hung out at our house. (Although I don’t remember a pajama party….) My mom made popcorn for us, and we sat around the dining table and played cards or games, and listened to records, and talked, talked, talked. Whenever anyone would ask how she and Daddy could stand so much teenage noise, she said she liked it, because she knew where we were and she knew we were safe.
Yeah. That’s why I offered our house for these Wednesday night meetings. And I understand even more what Mom meant. I like hearing them laugh. I like knowing they are safe, that they can confide in each other, that they are happy to be here. And they are sweet kids; every time they leave, they yell up the stairs, as loud as they can, “THANK YOU!” interspersed with giggles.
I love it. I really do. I’m so very aware that my daughter is almost fifteen, and that there are only a few more years she’ll be home like this. Before I know it, she’ll be off to her own life, at college or a job or marriage or a combination of those things, and when she’s home, it won’t be the same. It’ll be wonderful, but it won’t be the same.
I am more aware of the passage of time than usual, because we’re coming up on her A-Day, and her birthday not long after. I waited twenty years for her; how can she be almost fifteen? She’s planning her high school courses and beginning to know what she might want to do for a career.
Yesterday I did some serious cleaning of closets; one of the tasks involved emptying several boxes and a trunk, sorting, folding and repacking everything back into the trunk. It is now filled with her baby clothes, from the newest newborn sizes to small toddler sizes. Little socks the size of my thumb! The pale green nightgown she wore home from the hospital; the little pink coat she wore every Sunday to church. Christmas dresses and the petticoats worn beneath them. Her patent leather slippers; her first Birkenstocks!
I could remember her in so many of the clothes. She was a beautiful baby, and it was fun to dress her. But it went far beyond that. I could remember how she felt in my arms, see her wiggling on her play quilt, rolling over, taking her first steps. I could feel little fingers curled around mine, and see her gorgeous smile break wide and bright when she saw one of us. I could remember rocking her in the Mommy chair, feeling her drift off to sleep against my shoulder, and wanting to just sit there and hold her all night.
And sometimes I did. Sometimes, I still would, if she wanted me to. That Mommy chair is still big enough for that.
Wasn’t it yesterday? And now she giggles with other teens. Before I know it, she’s going to be laughing in a dorm with her college roommate.
I will continue to make pizza and bake brownies and vacuum up spilled popcorn as long as I can…..and remember the little girl in footy pajamas forever.