If you had your crystal ball handy yesterday, and chose to peek in at me and my three younger kids around 3:30, you would have judged us all pretty harshly. One was on the floor, surrounded by a mess of their own making, kicking another, who was nastily mocking the mess and the sibling and anything else. Another was wildly defending some earlier transgression. As for me, I was yelling mightily at anyone in sight. They were horrible people, all of them, and clearly taught by me to treat each other, their house and their parents with nothing but disrespect.
I stormed out of the house for my shift down at our barn, leaving them to each other like the Calico Cat and the Gingham Dog.
When I came back, the house was clean and quiet. One child eagerly described how they’d helped another with a complex homework issue, the other nodding gratefully. The third child was rushing to load the car. The oldest offered to give a younger sibling the front seat, and we drove quietly off in the direction of hockey practice, three children in the car, each diligently working away at homework, classical music playing. As we pulled out of the driveway, one child turned to me and asked, “can I read you the poem I just wrote?”
Neither of those moments is really who we are as a family–and, I guess, both of those moments are who we are as a family. One takeaway from this is the obvious one–don’t judge any parent you see flailing away in the grocery store, or put any of them up on a pedestal as their child holds the door open for you, either.
But to me, the real message of our messy afternoon was this reminder: I shouldn’t judge myself. Or them. Or us.
Sometimes we’re a lovely, loving family. Sometimes we’re not.
Need a book for a gift for a friend, or a great read for yourself? I’ve got one for you: The Adults, by Caroline Hulse.Here’s the back-of-the-book description: A couple (now separated), plus their daughter, plus their newpartners, all on an epic Christmas vacation. What could go wrong?
Let me just tell you, this one does not disappoint. It’s fun and entertaining and twisty and charming, and makes a great holiday read. I know just who I’m giving my copy to.