Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Raisin’ Kids is like Being Plucked to Death by Chickens

Welcome, all!

Bear Cabin was cracked open Easter Sunday after a long winter’s sleep. My husband and I let the Son shine in.

Along with the wonderful message of our Risen Savior, we welcomed over thirty adults and five little people up on the Roan for a wonderful celebration; it was so good to see family members, neighbors and friends join together for a day of fellowship, fun, and laughter.

Tony and I had let our two decorators, Hope Hall and Patti Mullins of Plumberry Hollow -see Does This Bathroom Make My Butt Look Big?- give the front porch of the cabin a new facelift while leaving the back porch rustic with bear rugs and Indian motif. That way we knew we would please everyone’s idea of what an old cabin nestled in the woods should look like.

The Easter Bush had been decorated with colored eggs, and Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit and their three little ones were standing beside it ready to greet our guests as they walked up the lane to the cabin.  Though the Bush was stark naked this year, not even wearing a bud, she still looked festive and held within her the promise of beauty that would eventually bloom.

As everyone arrived and spilled throughout the cabin and onto the porches, the excitement of seeing one another grew louder, and peals of laughter started ringing throughout Misty Hollow.

One of the first things to be done was to show everyone a huge Easter basket filled with goodies and a quart-sized jar of jelly beans. The one who guessed how many beans were in the jar without going over would win the basket.

Laughing hysterically, I was amazed how many of the guys started pulling out their smartphones trying to figure out how much dry goods a quart jar could hold, the area of a quart jar vs. the size of a jelly bean and other such 'scientific angles.' They were all over the map with their answers. The women all simply picked up the jar, turned it around a couple of times and wrote down their answers. The children? Bless their Lil’ hearts. They each guessed fervently but innocently…and way, way low.

We had so many other wonderful plans for the day. The hot tub had been drained and cleaned for spring, and it was waiting at the perfect temperature; the miniature donkeys that had new babies were anxious to nuzzle the guests and be brushed, and the four-wheeler was finely tuned for spins around the perimeter of the property.

And it goes without saying Trig, my Tennessee Walker, was chomping at the bit to join in the fray and receive his pre-packaged bags of treats (to avoid colic) handed out to all who wanted to become his best buddy. Trig is so gentle with the little folk, and he even took a bit of carrot out of his mom’s lips to the delight of on watchers.

It took no time at all before three of our younger grandchildren, Savannah, Ryleigh, and Emmett had donned wading boots and left to venture up the creek to explore for treasures, one of their favorite things to do while at Nana’s and Poppas.

When the dinner bell rang loud and clear… the blessing of the food was given by my sweetheart, and it was time to fill an Easter plate and find a place at a picnic table.

This lovely bowl of potato salad was made and brought to the picnic by my awesome sister, Debby. She is renowned for her home-style cooking. Just to help you put amounts in perspective…this bowl holds two gallons! The two matching bowls each held two gallons of cole slaw and baked beans. Also, there were one hundred pieces of chicken served. We were determined no one would leave our home hungry!

A real highlight of the meal came when dessert was announced. We had ole-fashioned banana splits with all the trimmings, compliments of Aunt Peggy, Uncle Edd, and Grandfather Don! What a treat!

As everyone began to gather ‘round the table laden with gallons of ice cream, fresh bananas, and arrays of toppings and whip cream you could hear the oohs and ahhs.  As I put that first bite in my mouth, I recalled the first time as a young child I had my first banana split. I guess it will always be at the top of my list of favorite desserts.   

Soon it was time for the big Easter Egg Hunt. The older kids took off to the front of the cabin to hide the dozens of eggs that were meant for the grade school kid’s baskets. One-year-old Bowie had his own special eggs to find.

We even found one pretty pink Easter egg over in the field by itself.

Throughout the day up here in our hollow, love was vibrant and precious. The love of Christ and His sacrifice for us was ever near; young love was in bloom that brought back memories of Tony and me at that tender age so long ago.

It was also touching throughout the day to see such moments as the bond of love between a father and daughter and a favored uncle and adoring niece.

Laughter and shouts of children playing indicated all were having a great time. The hilarity when the winner of the Easter basket was announced was priceless. Angela, Tony’s sister, won!  She was one of the women who gave a casual glance at the jar and wrote her number down.The angst of the men when not one of them came in second, third, fourth or fifth place in the contest was savored.  Sometimes ya just need to observe the female folk and glean from their wisdom of keeping life simple.

As all were starting down the lane leaving the cabin on Sunday, I stood on the porch and sadly watched each go. My own adult children walked closely with their children as others walked with theirs; the day was over, but it had been wonderful.

Yep, I thought as I headed toward a hot bath, raisin’ kids is as has been said 'like being plucked to death by chickens.' That sentiment is surely based on the times of sorrow that come with the job. The heartaches of broken bones and wounded hearts, of training up a child and the inevitable rebellion and consequences that came with it. The disappointments that hurt us as parents as much as our kids. Those times of tears over wounds we knew would heal one day, but each child felt never would; when our tears flowed as freely as theirs. I know these heartaches seemed endless with my four children.

Nevertheless, as I watched mine leave Sunday, I realized there have been countless days before Sunday that blessed and reminded me how much it was all worth it. My prayer now is that those same chickens don’t come home to roost as my children are rearin’ theirs... my precious grandchildren.

I hope your Easter was as blessed as ours, my friends.