So far, between Zac's marriage to Barbara and their pregnancy, Aubrey's high school graduation, purchase of a house and upcoming marriage to Nick, and my unfortunate encounter with an ungrounded hot tub, 2014 has bombarded me with 2 of the 3. (I still have 6 months to avoid rabies.)
When Summer rolled around I assumed things would get easier. Easier meaning, calmer. Easier meaning, less chaotic. Truth be told, easier meaning, easier to accept. My family is moving out. My family is shrinking. Dear God, my family is changing.
For so long we were 'The Courters'. Said by others with deer-in-the-headlight eyes and slow knowing nods. That crazy family of 6, some who wear shoes, some who wear pants and one who refuses to remove his ball cap, all of whom operate under zero adult supervision.
We offer no explanation or apology for who we are because throughout the past 20 years, when everything around us changed, we were the only constant.
But these days, much of our time is spent as a family of 4 having only Kearstin and Caymen at home with us now. We fit in a booth at a restaurant. We make it through most outings without causing a scene or disturbance and can interact with the public without anyone disgustedly asking, "Are all of these yours?" Apparently 6 Courters have the ability to create Duggar-size scenes.
I find myself in the midst of this hurricane of change and there's a level of pain in it so you might have to bear with me while I try to adjust. I remind myself that this is good change. It's natural change. This is the way God intends for it to change. Therefore, I'll fight through my 3rd deepest fear and not only accept the change, but embrace the change. Because even though it didn't feel like it at the time, easy was when our kids lived at home. Now we dig deep into the world of intentional. It's a little harder but we're deliberate in scheduling our family time now and it's worth it.
In turn, God is navigating me through these scary changes with comforting glimpses of normal...ok, sometimes not so comforting and you might not consider it normal.
For Father's Day, the 8 of us piled into an old school bus with giant tubes before being dropped off and left at the mercy of the river current to make our way back to where we started. I looked over to discover my future son-in-law on all fours on top of his tube as it slowly spun toward a small waterfall with his flip flops floating behind him while Aubrey stood stuck knee deep in the water screaming and Ron debating jumping ship to look for his sunglasses that he was sure were caught in a tree before Kearstin discovered them dangling off the back of his shirt. We are the epitome of the Red Neck Yacht Club. Then afterward, we gorged on giant cheeseburgers before dropping like flies around our living room in water-logged-junk-food induced comas.
Last week on Hilton Head Island, Zac and Barbara decided to use the beach (and fire) to reveal the gender of our grandchild, beach fire being strictly prohibited on the island, but that's neither here nor there. They carved GIRL and BOY in the sand and lined it with string, having saturated one with fuel so that it would be the gender to ignite. Then we watched as Z lit the end of the string and it started to spread as families began to gather and watch. And then we watched the bottle of fuel ignite into flames in Barbara's hand so she threw it down. And then we watched people scatter and run as far away from us as possible. (We're used to that.) So we kicked sand until the flames smothered out and then stood silently looking at each other. Well that was terrifying...and disappointing. So we regrouped and then the girls and I started digging while the guys ran to Walmart for lighter fluid and we set the beach on fire again. And when that ended with frantic sand kicking, the spectators became "potential witnesses" so they waited a few days before they set a fire on an abandoned tennis court that took a bottle of water and several minutes of stamping with shoes to put out. The end result was effective, albeit violent.
So what am I freaking out about here? 'The Courters' aren't shrinking. We're expanding...and multiplying. I shouldn't be the one in fear. The world should.
So watch out everybody.
Here comes #9...