Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Whirlwind of Hooligans (Part II)

When a three-year-old cups my face in his sticky little hands and whispers, most confidentially, "I am riding to church in your car because," I lose all sense of anything but his dreamy eyes.  When a two-year-old wakes in the night with boogies streaming out of his nose and cheeks as red as apples and wants only to lie across his Nonna (translation:  Nanny), I don't care what miserable toddler disease I catch; I only want to comfort him.  When I've been out of the house from moon-to-moon, and crawl in from another long day of teaching and chauffeuring, and a wee baby tears his toothless mouth wide because he's delighted to see me, I am energized.

It is pure foolishness to place two families under the same roof and expect an atmosphere of enduring peace.  Especially two passionate, hard-headed families with children spanning from tots to teens, a couple big dogs, a bunch of temperamental cats (some indoor/some indoor-outdoor) and one hermit crab.  We have very little peace under our roof, but much joy.  And our joy arrives in snippets, not streams. In bottles, not barrels.  But here's what we do have:  LOVE.  We have discovered that we love enough to forgive minor transgressions.  We love enough to stay relational in the face of anger and self-centeredness.  We love enough to keep our tongues when it would feel much more satisfying to loose them.

A Chinese friend told me many years ago that the Chinese symbol for "too much trouble" (pronounced:  mah-fwong)  is the image of two women under the same roof.  Time and experience have proven this again and again in my life--not, however, in this time or in this experience.  I am discovering that I can anticipate my adult daughter's responses because she is so much like me.  We parent similarly.  And we come up with the same kookie stuff for dinners.  She is a resourceful homemaker and understands how the house needs to look and feel when I drag myself in the door in the evenings.  She rarely snaps back when I am grouchy.  She knows what brings me snippets and bottles of peace.  I appreciate this child so much, and learn from her compassion toward me and her many kindnesses toward the whole mob of us.  Hats off to you, Cheryl--yours is not an easy path, but your grace and diligence make us all want to do better!  Big love to you!