My oldest daughter moved in with us 6 months ago with her 5-year-old son. They planned to live with us while his daddy was deployed to Afghanistan with the USMC. It's not an easy thing to have a grown child move into a household with a child of her own. I was determined to have no regrets during the time they were here.
It seems unlikely that there would be any trouble, at least practically speaking, but I knew there would be major adjustments - and there were. Moving a 5-year-old into a household with three other kids, all teenagers, is challenging to say the least. While my daughter worked full time, I was my grandson's primary care-giver. He fell into our plans, was included in what we did and tagged along, ate dinner and ran errands along with the rest of us. This presents challenges because a 5-year-old is not so independent as a teenager. So, the other kids were either waiting for me to secure him in a car seat, or assisting with that themselves. Or, they waited for their supper while he washed his hands because he forgot (that's what 5-year-olds do).
The list of opportunities to react badly to any given situation during this time was long. But, my theology kept me balanced. I knew my 3 youngest kids were watching me; I knew they could easily copy my behavior and take cues from me on how to treat their young nephew. Many days, my decisions to do right were very intentional and targeted, given the situation. I knew that I would regret doing the wrong thing; I had to choose to do the right thing, and I did. I knew I represented all I had tried to teach my kids about God's love and I had to represent it well.
I can't take any credit, however. It is God Who works in me to do what He will. It's His Word that strengthened me each day to face and deal with its challenges. I praise Him that I have no regrets. I hope that my young grandson will think of this time in his life, when I was caring for him, and think of me as kind. Firm, but kind.
And thus ends a brief chapter in the growth of my ever-changing family. Praise God for His goodness!