I was reading the story of Joseph in Egypt recently, the part where Joseph tells Pharaoh the meaning of his dreams and recommends that Pharaoh find the wisest man in Egypt to manage the grain during the years of plenty so there will be enough to eat when the years of famine come. Pharaoh thinks this is a great idea and decides Joseph is the man for the job. I got to thinking that all the years your kids are growing up are years of plenty, not in terms of money (at least not for us), but in terms of all that time you spend together. You are feasting and you don’t even realize it. It is a time of abundance, and you kind of take it all for granted and stop noticing and appreciating it because you’re all filled up. But then, gradually, the time you spend together starts to diminish. At first, it’s subtle, your kids go to camp, they go on school trips to other countries, they spend more and more time with friends and less and less time at home. By the end of their senior years in high school, you’re beginning to feel a little hungry, so you gather them in as much as you can for meals and backyard fires and family game nights. And then, before you know it, just like in Egypt, the years of plenty come to an end. What follows are not really days of famine, but you do have to start getting along with less. Sometimes the simplicity is peaceful; other times you get hungry for the old days. So you do the best you can; you look back on the memories you stored up during the years of plenty. And as you set just two places at the table, you begin to enjoy the tranquility of this new stage in life. But you also look forward to the little islands of plenty that appear each time your kids come home.