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Even hermit crabs grow out of their shells

My Dear Al,
In response to your post, I know what you are going through.  I have been there.  Believe me, I have been there.  Whenever I see mothers with younger kids at the store, climbing out of their shopping carts, or wrestling them in to the car, or looking half crazed at church, I smile, rub their shoulder and say, "Don't worry it really does get better."
I say the same to you.  This moment is fleeting and sweet.  You may not get to do all the things that you want to.  You may have to do less of the things that you think you should.  But focus on loving and training those little ones, because as they grow up, they become your best friends.  And eventually your little hermit crab shell gets a little bigger.  Soon enough you will be expanding.  Soon enough you will be sharing your love of serving others.  Soon enough.  So now, become a hermit for a while and do what you CAN do.

Recently, we have done a few things that a couple of years ago I thought we would never be able to do.  We went to the lake, with everyone.  No one drowned and no one ran away.  We had 3 hours of peaceful fun.

I also took the kids in to Minneapolis, for a field trip.  We went to the sculpture gardens.  The art work was amazing and the kids were terrific.  I realized that my little hermit crab shell has expanded!  Here are a few pictures from our excursion.  

I am in a new phase of life.  It is the leave-the-stroller-at-home-and-go-exploring phase.  It is amazing to me that I no longer have to worry that my kids may destroy someone's house.  I can count on them to do their chores, get dressed, feed themselves, make their beds, bathe, brush their teeth, stay with me at the store, be safe at the lake, and cross the street without causing me a heart attack.  I still serve as the reminderer, but it gets done.  My life with 5 is so much easier than my life with 3 was.  Age really did make all the difference.

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