After the children have completed their dinner chores, they usually have time to mess around for a bit until the next part of our evening begins, which is the Rosary
Around 7pm, my husband calls all the children to Rosary Time. I would love to paint a pretty picture of this. You know, with all the children gleefully running to pray as a peaceful, harmonious family, but that would be a Big Fat Lie.
No, I must be honest. Generally at least one child is grumbling about it all. “NO! I want to play legos!” Or, in a really whiny voice, “Aw, Daaaad, I just sat down to read this book.” Or, even better yet, utter disregard and aloofness–the children ignore us and go on wrestling.
Sigh. But we keep at it. After all, it’s worth it.
If you’ll notice the picture above, you’ll see an icon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is where we gather to pray. It’s where our day began with Morning Prayer, and it’s also where it ends with Rosary and Compline.
So how does this look with 7 children under the age of 12? Well, the five older children kneel beside my husband and lead a decade, while I hold the crying baby and the toddler roams around the room talking and distracting everyone. (She is really cute and hard not to look at.) It’s loud and chaotic. And we trust that Mary understands.
After the rosary, the children retire to the basement to pick up their toys and get ready for bed, and my husband and I pray the Office of Compline. (Click HERE for a look at what we use. It’s excellent.) When we’re finished with this, it’s usually around 8pm, and my husband ventures downstairs to give the children blessings.
I do not put the children to bed. I’ve been around them all day, and I’m done. When my husband gives them blessings, that’s it. We do not make this a great production. For we’re not about to waste our whole evening cajoling and persuading our children to be quiet and go to bed. Nope. No bedtime stories, no lying in bed with them, no nothing. They’ve been read to and sang to and attended to all day long.
So, they’ve taken it upon themselves to tell nighttime stories and sing songs and all the rest. It’s really quite sweet. And we don’t care if they’re all snuggled up on the Eldest’s bed, listening to her tell a Tall Tale, so long as they don’t come upstairs.
This may sound harsh to some, but it’s what works for us.
My husband and I enjoy this time from about 8pm to 10pm as a time for us to be together. Many nights we enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail and play a game of Gin Rummy or Cribbage. Sometimes we just talk. Sometimes we read aloud to one another. Sometimes we watch a movie.
Life is just too short to not enjoy your spouse. If you’ve been in the habit of staring at your technology and ignoring your spouse, quit it! And find time to be together.
For as the Venerable Fulton Sheen reminds us, “Life is worth living.”