Long before I had my own children to school me in life, I had the McKenzie family. You’ve met them before. They were my family in California when mine was so far away. They were instrumental in the early years of my relationship with Curt. A crazy cross between mentors, friends, coworkers, and parents… our relationship was sealed through surgery recoveries, fourth of July parades, and rec center volleyball.
Jonathan, or J-Bud, is the third of their four children, and he was quite famous for rising early and making too much noise when his older brother in the top bunk wanted to sleep.
After several failed attempts to guide the child into better practices, the McKenzies laid down the law with their 4 year-old.
“Jay, they said one night at bedtime. “Jay, you cannot get up so early in the morning. It wakes up your brother and it wakes everyone else up. From now on, you stay in your bed until we come and get you. You can read books, but you may not get out of your bed. You can play legos, on your bed. You can color, on your bed. IF YOU GET OUT OF BED, you will get a spanking. Do you understand?”
Jonathan considered this for a long moment.
“Yes, but HOW MANY spankings?” he wanted to know.
I think of their kids when I ask Abby to dance for me and she says, “No. I’m not that kind of kid.”
I think of their family when Gideon asks to marry me and I remember that I promised Kylie first.
I think of them when my children scribble on paper (or walls *sigh*) and remember that a small, brown child first told me 15 years ago the scribbles were the marks ice skaters left in the ice.
I think of them especially in this season of my life, as my kids’ ages overlap with my strongest memories of their clan at the same age…
and I give thanks that all of our children were not the same ages at the same time. Surely, California would have exploded at some point.
I give thanks that I got to live and breathe and shop and serve with parents who lost their temper and asked for forgiveness. Who took the weird vitamin supplements before they were cool. Who let their kids run barefoot and climb high.
They were preparing me for the future in small and magnificent ways.
Once again, I am in awe of a God so in charge, so everywhere that He can see my future as He guides my present and reminds me of my past. He know what I will need, what I need, and what I needed… and He provided.
As the leaves fall away and the air starts to chill, I can hear Him whispering, “I see you, Katie. I know you. Trust me. I know.”