As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Love like this

Today, as most days, I fumbled about getting supper ready with a thirty-pound toddler on my hip. My one and only little Katie.

She is the fourth of our five children, and is vastly different than the boys. She is so much more clingy, even than the baby. She would spend the whole day on my hip if I would let her. It can be quite frustrating at times, particularly when she is tired and I'm trying to put her down. I'm sure most parents can relate to the feeling of just wanting to finish something that they've started, and that's how I often feel. I could do this so much faster if I could just put you down for two minutes - and then you'd have me all to yourself. But alas, this is not what she wants. She's more content to have half of my attention most of the time, than to have none of it for a bit, and all of it later.

Yesterday she wasn't feeling good, and was particularly clingy to me. And it hit me, she really, really loves me a lot. She clings to me because she wants to be with me all the time - she's happiest when she's with me. That's such an incredible thing! Lots of people love me a lot, but very few are so honest with it. With kids, there is just love. And sometimes, that's hard. Because love so innocent and pure demands something in return. And that something is you - now. It's my own imperfections that cause me to become frustrated, my own distractions that cause me to turn elsewhere. But when I look at her, it's so clear. She's not demanding, she's not trying to keep me from doing anything, she's not looking to drive me crazy! She's just loving me, and calling me to love her back.

This is the way God loves us. Asking nothing in return but the gift of ourselves. And with God, as with the kids, I often feel frustrated. If I could just finish what I'm doing Lord, then I'll spend time with you. And just like my little Katie, what God really wants is to be part of my whole day, not just something tacked on at the end, if I have time. Parenthood teaches me so much about life, and particularly why children are so special to God - because they really do get it so much better than we do.

I don't know what I did to deserve such a perfect love. But I pray to always see the good, to see with the eyes of faith what my own eyes, so full of distraction, too often miss.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Kids' House

I remember having a conversation with a coworker when I was expecting my fourth child. It was about the clutter you accumulate in your house when you have kids. In particular the living room, and how despite my best efforts to make it a grown up space, it always ends up with toys along every square inch of the perimeter (if I'm lucky, and they haven't been strewn across the entire room). He talked about visiting friends and seeing all the toys their kids had out in the main living areas, and how ridiculous that was. And at the time I desperately wished for a space of my own in all this craziness. A place where we could entertain friends that was sophisticated, modern, and free of toys.

And now, I'm home full time. Not only that, but I have two extra children, and I'm homeschooling. So in addition to the extra little ones and all their toys, I also have school desks in my dining room and work pinned up all around the upstairs of my house. Not only does the living room look like a play room, but the dining room looks like a classroom. But you know what? I don't mind it so much anymore. In fact, I really love it. Because the fact is that kids do live here - they are part of this family, and this is their space too. I do have my own space - it's called a bedroom, but the rest of the house is meant to be shared by a family, not just me. And people who come into my home should realize that. I am happy when I look around my house that signs of the life contained within are everywhere to be found.

When I see all of their stuff, it reminds me how fun it is to have them around, and to enjoy them being so little. Because like it or not, some day they are going to grow up. And I know I'm really going to miss these days. So I figure I may as well make the most of it, and celebrate their young lives while I am in the midst of it. It will be a sad day when there are no toys in my living room. But if I'm anything like my mother, I'll get to do it all over again when I have my own grandchildren - and maybe with even more stuff!