28 Aug 2013

Guest Post by Tamara Shoemaker

Another guest post by Tamara Shoemaker. Obvious really as I don't have any children of course. Thanks Tamara for agreeing to a guest post and sending me this. 

I always said I would never have an odd number of children. It would either be two or four, preferably four, most certainly not three.

Funny thing about decisions; they have a way of changing. I am the proud mother of three children, not two, and (according to my husband) most certainly not four.

I've admittedly resigned myself to the number three with somewhat poor grace. I protested the number all the way to the hospital doors as I dropped off my husband for his “snip-snip” surgery. I think I even remember a few tears shed.

As my children have grown, I've watched the family dynamics with a wary eye. Part of my reasoning behind the number four was that they could pair up for their play times. One could almost always have another one with which to team up without feeling left out. If two ganged up against someone else, the other one could pull the fourth one in on his side. (Of course, this is all speculation. My children would never be unkind to each other). ;)

With three, I've been concerned, because there are always two of them playing together, and there is always one that is left by themselves. Granted, it hasn't seemed like the end of the world. My oldest daughter and my son (the middle child) are best buds. They go everywhere together. They do everything together. My oldest daughter is the imaginative one in the bunch. She makes up scenarios, then she and my son have to act them out. They spend hours doing role play.

My youngest daughter stands in the living room in front of the couch with a book open in front of her. She spends scads of time “reading” aloud. I'm thrilled that she seems to have developed an exceptional interest in books, but I'm also concerned that she has little to no interaction with her sister and brother.

This past week, my daughter started Kindergarten, five days a week, all day. That left my son and my youngest daughter at home, and suddenly, they had to learn how to play together. The first day of school, both of them were bored stiff. They rolled around on the floor of the den, moaning about how tired they were, and was their older sister ever going to come back? There was nothing to do. It was so boring.

I sent them to their rooms and told them they could come out when they figured out how to be less bored. Or if they were still bored, they couldn't come out till they could figure out how to be quiet about their boredom.

That was the first week. The second week, I began to see a change. Where my oldest daughter up to that point had always been the ringleader in imaginative play, my son began to take the initiative. Instead of playing separately from his little sister, he invited her to come and play “house” or “camp” or “build” or “garden” with him. Today, I looked in our backyard and practically skipped in a circle at the sight that met my eyes.

They had taken the laundry basket, pulled it under one of the sheets I'd hung on the line, arranged the ends of the sheet over the basket, then climbed in the basket and played in their “tent.” This occupied their time for an entire hour. No fussing. No crying. No screaming. Can I get a hallelujah!?

My children teach me lessons every day. Sometimes I learn them. Sometimes I'm just plain stubborn. This one, I'm choosing to learn. How do I step up to fill the roles that need to be filled? If someone leaves a vacancy, and I'm not necessarily talking about a professional work-place, how can I work to fill in the gaps that need to be filled? If something needs to be done, do it. If someone needs a hug, hug them. If a letter needs to be written, write it. Mail it. If a phone call needs to be made, punch those numbers on that dial pad.

If that book needs to be written, write it. For years and years, I was a writer who did not write. What is a writer who does not write? Frustrated.

God's given us all talents. Some are flamboyant, awe-inducing, colorful. Some are behind-the-scenes, hidden, secret. But they are all talents, and they're all necessary to our character; the practice of our talent shapes us in to whom we were designed to be.

Stop waiting for the grass to grow. Take initiative.


Tamara Shoemaker is the author of the Shadows in the Nursery series, which includes the best-sellers Broken Crowns and Pretty Little Maids. She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband and three young children. She writes fantasies and Christian thrillers between diaper changes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Click the Link to see details of her latest book, pictured above here http://amzn.to/13Mnii1

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