Oh, the joys of "Planet Nana." We had all our family under one roof for a few fleeting hours (actually, it was a couple of days, but they flew like hours). All 18 (!) of us crammed in our little condo.Ten grandkids aged 3 months through 10 years, four of them in diapers. Four in Pack’n Plays, six sleeping on our bedroom floor in sleeping bags. Glorious chaos.
Overlapping visits with various family combinations spanned a period of 2 ½ weeks. We celebrated Jesus’ birthday with Bengt reading The Story, and we had a birthday cake for Jesus. Olaf the Swedish Surprise Bear mysteriously dropped off presents. Once again nobody saw him, but there were those footprints in the snow. We wished for more snow, but the kids made noble attempts to build snowmen out of mostly ice.
We read stories and played Sorry and Candyland and Chutes and Ladders and Christmas Bingo. Amazing Lego sets were constructed, admired, and deconstructed for travel home. We ate and laughed and sang and changed countless diapers. The washer and dryer and dishwasher provided constant white noise.We played trucks and trains and dinosaurs and store and told spooky flashlight stories in the dark closet.
We found children in all kinds of places.
Two of them go home with a new game: “Hey Evey, you wanna sneak?” was a prelude to finding children in remote spots with guilty little smiles eating marshmallows or cookies or unwrapping candy wrappers. I still find candy kiss wrappers under the bed, and I smile.
Gabriella summed it up: “Nana, this was the best Christmas ever.” Yes, Gabriella, it was.
And now it is January. They’ve all gone home—to their homes in Ireland and Virginia and New Hampshire. The house is cleaner. And way too quiet.
Yet there is a quiet joy. A January kind of joy.I have precious memories.More than ever. Many moments stored up to keep and ponder in my heart. Mary was on to something there (Luke 2:19) I feel blessed.Very very blessed.
But there’s more.I come back from “Planet Nana” to my Real Life, my real January life, with something more. December was a refresher course on what it takes to be a mom with four kids. What it takes to be a mom no matter how many kids you have . . . even one will do it.It’s exhausting. Completely exhausting. Also exasperating and hilarious and rewarding (there is the occasional “I love you so much, mommy” or the huge unexpected hug) and lonely and completely chaotic.
So I come back from Planet Nana with renewed resolve to love and encourage moms. Any moms. Especially Mom to Mom moms. As heroic and amazing the moms I know are, they need our love, support, encouragement and, above all, our prayers.
My January challenge to you: Love on a mom in your life. Whether you’re in Mom to Mom or not, there is a mom in your life you can reach out to. Do it. She’s waiting.