With the break in the weather, my wife and I were discussing how our home seemed to be the “place to hang out” for all the neighborhood kids. This reminded me of the days when I was younger and still living at home. A home that was filled with love and filled with children.
Growing up I was extremely lucky to have a brother that was less than a year older than me…Yes my parents were crazy enough to have “Irish Twins.” The best part about being so close in age was that we had a lot the some friends growing up. This was great not only for the two of us, but it was also a gift for my parents. It was the gift of always having a home filled with children.
My parents’ home was a second home to many of my friends growing up. Some of them would stay 4-5 nights at a time, especially in the summer. I can still hear my mother asking our friends, like it was yesterday, “Are you staying over again,” but always in a sincere and gracious manner.
I don’t ever recall a time when we would ask if a friend could “spend the night,” and they would say “No.” They always said “Yes.”
Later in my life, I had asked my parents why they always allowed our friends to stay the night. My mother’s response was simple: They loved when my brother and I were at home. Where they knew we were safe and protected… having our friends over was just an added bonus. They embraced the fact that our friends loved spending time at a home they felt was safe and the “door was always open” …no matter what.
Five days after graduating from college, I moved away from home… several states away (From Pennsylvania to North Carolina). My brother also moved away. For the 1st time my parents would not have a home filled with children…or at least that is what we all thought.
You see, the relationships that we made as kids were not just extended to me and my brother. No, the branch was also extended to my parents.
Today, several of my friends that still live near my parents keep in touch with them on a regular basis. They will stop in to see how they are doing. They are excited to tell them when they are “expecting a new member of the family.” When they visit my parents, they bring their own new families, showing how proud they are to be “Fathers.” Although their family is not there, they still have a home filled with children.
Looking out from my porch today, it brought joy seeing all the kids playing and having fun at our home – sled riding down our front porch while I cheered them on, and then all of them heading inside to drink the hot chocolate that my wife made. It was a place that children wanted to be, a place to hang out and enjoy the moment. And to my mom & dad… thank you for always allowing to have a home full of children. I pray that God will always bless my home full of children for many years to come.