Why I Love My Full House

Why I Love My Full House

Ever since I moved in with my in-laws almost three years ago, I’ve been asked many times how I can live with so many people in one house. They think I’m a little crazy because my immediate family already consists of two adults and three small children–that alone should be pretty snug for a little townhome, yet on top of that, we have managed to squeeze in with my husband’s parents as well as my husband’s two younger brothers. With that, my children have had the absolute privilege of growing up with their doting grandparents and the most fun-loving uncles they could ever ask for, and altogether, we have made up our very own east coast, Korean style version of the old classic sitcom, Full House.

And yes, sometimes it is very full…too full—full of dishes piled up in the sink, mounds of laundry waiting to be washed, and trashcans overflowing to the brim. Some days, the only thing this house seems to lack are vacant bathrooms when there is an urgent potty call (we’ve had way too many close calls), privacy even if it is just to take care of that business in the bathroom, and ok, that much needed peace and quiet, especially when the baby is sleeping.

But I still love our home and would not choose to have it any other way. It was not a “failure to launch,” as some may think, or something we are doing because we have no other choice, but it was a careful, thought out decision we made after we felt prompted by the Lord and it has been one of the best moves we have ever made.

I will tell you why.

Today, Micah got a nasty splinter. It was one of those really deep ones embedded completely beneath the skin. When tweezers didn’t work, I got out my sewing needle, but after scraping around not really knowing what I was doing, I let go of his poor pulsating finger. By this point, Micah was screaming and crying and Kindle was traumatized just watching her older brother in such distress and ran to her bed to hide under the blanket.

Finally, I resorted to google to find other ways to remove the splinter and was soon standing in front of a counter crowded with Elmer’s glue, duct tape, baking soda, and vinegar. I wouldn’t have looked so foolish if one of these so-called remedies actually worked, but the stubborn splinter would not budge. So what did we do? Put a Band-Aid on and wait for grandma to come home. Everyone knows grandma has the magic touch and this time was no different. In less than one minute, the splinter was out, and this time, no tears.

More times than I can count, grandma and grandpa and uncles have come to the rescue and assisted me in dire times of need. They have held crying babies, taken the plunge into clogged toilets, chipped in for broken appliances, and helped shovel out cars in blizzards of snow. All this and more, they have done for me and my family.

Still, these are not the main reasons why I love living in our home. It’s not about the delicious home cooked meals, the free childcare, or even the ability to save money just by living together….although those are all great perks too.

These are some of the things I really cherish:

Having conversations with my in-laws which always take a turn to be stories of the faithfulness of God. I see a bigger picture of life through them.

My son being around not only his dad, but also his uncles who can run around with him playing Avengers one minute and then softly hold his hand while laying around the next minute. He is seeing that guys can be both tough and tender at the same time.

Grandparents being able to see their grandchildren literally grow before their eyes. It is their greatest delight in this world, and food for the soul, especially when life can be less than they expected.

The endless number of OTHER people who are regular guests of people in our home and whom we have also grown to call family. All our hearts have expanded because of both the sheer quantity AND quality of these friends.  

Being able to pull up a chair to the table and eat at any hour of the day because there will always be someone there offering to share their food with you. Relationship is built around breaking bread around the table, even if it is just one bowl of fried rice and three spoons digging in.

Seeing the Bible being studied regularly and songs of praise on the lips of so many. It’s all about loving God first and loving God the most here.

And even…

Witnessing and being part of frequent run-ins and conflicts and then being able to forgive and still want to live with each other. It can be the hardest to get along with those you live with, but if you can do that, I’m convinced you can love anyone.

And just one more…

Laughing. Laughing at the toddler who randomly smacks the grandma’s rear in passing, the uncle who is running around looking for his misplaced wallet, the other uncle who farted in the corner, and the grandpa who is passed out and making weird noises on the couch.

I love it all.

We are learning about life, we are learning about people, and most importantly, we are learning about love.

We may not always live this way, but until then, I remain thankful for this rich and sweet time of being one big happy family in our oh so overly full house, full of wonderful lessons and memories that I will never forget.

 

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Stop Trippin

Stop Trippin

This girl be trippin. From the moment my daughter wakes up in the morning a little past 5 AM all the way to the final seconds before she crashes at night, it’s trip, trip, trip, trip, and trip some more. Ever since she learned to walk, and now two years later, all day, everyday, that’s what she does. Trip. Over toys, over blankets, on carpet, on pavement, up the stairs, down the stairs, everywhere and anywhere, and usually over absolutely nothing at all except maybe her own foot.

Now, I just shake my head because no matter how hard I’ve tried to teach her to be careful time and time again, she just keeps on, keeps on trippin. And what can she do? It’s not like she does it on purpose and her tears tell me it hurts too. She just has to learn the hard way, I suppose. But she will never let that stop her. I’m finally convinced she would rather fall flat on her face rather than miss out on doing what she wants to do.

The other day she had one of her more serious episodes when she was playing outdoors and she tripped so perfectly that her left cheek slashed into the pointy corner of a concrete pillar sitting at the end of our walkway. Ouchhhhh. It was bloody painful even for everyone standing by who witnessed her fall.

Right away, we brought her inside, and as we iced her up and tried to stop the bleeding, she wailed in my arms a good, hard 15 minutes. Surely, I thought, she’s done for the night, and I could probably use a breather myself.

But when I turned to grab a band aid for her gushing wound, I looked back to see she had already jumped off my bed. Then, after she wiped away her last few tears along with all the clumps of hair that had gotten smeared into her snotty face, she marched straight back outside. Unfazed, determined, and with little balled up fists and a fight in her step, I watched her go.

When did she get so tough? It was like watching a mini Rocky get back into the ring after being pummeled over and over again until practically being knocked out completely. And while a part of me was scared to let her go off and fall again, the bigger part of me wanted to scream, “you go girl!”

Because the thing is, I used to kind of be like that, but these days, the truth about me that I’m realizing is I hate falling. Falling, failing, flat facing–I’d like to avoid it all if at all possible. I want to do things I know I can do well and things that involve a good chance I will succeed. But today, I stand in the middle of unchartered territory and I am about to enter a new arena of life.

And perhaps for the first time in my life, I’m actually really scared. I’m scared to put myself out there, I’m scared I don’t have what it takes, and most of all, I’m scared because I know this is something I have to do and something I’ve been called to do.

So what can I do?

Well, the answer is in what I’ve been telling my daughter all along. STOP. TRIPPIN. Stop trippin, get in that ring, and do what you got to do! I may get knocked down, I may even get knocked OUT, but I’ve got to learn, and even dare to learn the hard way sometime. It just might be the only way, and I will not let fear of a little scraped up ego or banged up pride get in the way of what I want and need to do. Maybe not with as much spunk as little Kindle, and maybe with the same tears rolling down my face one day too, but either way, it’s time to move forward because when you have a calling on your life, no one else can answer that call for you.