Love Tinted Glasses

This evening I felt myself succumbing to a really grumpy mood. I rehashed my day and thought about how bad it had been. Woke up way before the alarm went off, couldn’t go back to sleep. First day of kids going back to school meant an early morning and a bit of craziness getting everyone out the door. Had to take the two year old to a well-child checkup appointment at 9 am. Had to take the two little ones to Walmart for a big shopping. Got home at lunch and had a million things to do, but the baby fell asleep on my lap and clung to me any time I tried to move him so I ended up sitting in a chair with him for two hours. When he finally woke up I only had 45 minutes before I had to get back in the car to pick everyone up from school. Had to take my seven year old to physical therapy after I got the kids home from school. Didn’t get home till it was time to make supper. House was a mess. Kids were making a lot of noise. Aside from feeding people, I hadn’t got any housework done. I was stepping over toys on the floor, kicking dirty clothes out of the way, grabbing the baby as he tried to reach up on the counters and pull everything down. The younger kids all had their skates on and were crashing around the house, running into walls and furniture as they wobbled around. Chaos. I don’t like chaos.

As I sat at the supper table, I suddenly had a perspective shift. All the kids were sitting around the table talking to each other, talking with me and my husband. Everyone was laughing and joking with each other. My kids were fighting over who got to talk to me first about their day. The older kids were teasing the little ones. After the meal everyone gathered in the living room. It was still chaotic, kids running around in circles chasing each other. Every once in a while a child would hand me a book to read out loud. My oldest boy was playing the piano. My husband was working at the fireplace, trying to get our new wood burning stove installed. Still Chaos.

But good chaos. Family hanging out together. People enjoying each other’s company. Kids basking in being at home, being a part of a family, being loved. Warmth, security.

Two ways to look at the day. A failure: house didn’t get cleaned; dishes didn’t get washed; laundry didn’t get done. Or, a complete success. Children were hugged and cuddled; kids were listened to; laughter was shared. It was actually a good day.

Perhaps my perspective shift was simply getting a heavenly glimpse of my life. Seeing things through love-tinted glasses. And that is my New Year’s Resolution, that I would start slapping those glasses on my face every day and start judging my success on how well I loved that day, not how many chores I checked off my list. Love God, love people. It’s going to be a good year. 

Controlled Chaos AKA Suppertime at the Heneises

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Supper at the Heneises is an interesting phenomenon. Every evening we have the whole family sit down for a family meal. With teenagers being occupied in various outside activities, there is often one or two children missing, but the rest of us are always there. I put all the food on a buffet in the dining room and everyone sits down at the table. I serve up the youngest 6 and then let the older kids serve themselves. Then Andy and I serve ourselves. If we have guests, we try to let them go first. It’s a very busy atmosphere. Everyone wants to talk and, unfortunately, the loudest or most forceful usually wins the center of attention. Our meals are not quiet. To put it mildly.

We love to have people over and are used to having unexpected guests show up for a meal. Most people settle right into the chaos, but others, not so much. The other night one of the guys who works for Andy came over to the house to pick up some things and ended up staying for supper. It was a standard meal time. There were the normal complaints from the kids about the menu, me handing out reminders to eat your vegetables, everyone trying to talk at the same time while Andy and I tried to make sure the quieter kids had a chance to talk as well. Of course, inevitably, the 3 year old knocked over his drink all over his plate and so several people jumped up to to mop up the mess and serve him a new plate.

In the middle of all this Andy happened to notice his coworker had stopped eating and was just looking around with wide eyes. Andy asked if there was a problem and he said, “Nah man, Just a lot going on here!” Unfortunately Andy chose that moment to yell “Ferret!!” as he had spotted one of our pet ferrets who had apparently escaped his pen and was running across the dining room floor. Our guest looked puzzled for a minute but when he saw children vacating their seats and lunging across the floor after the escaped animal, he spun around and started looking frantically around him. “Ferret??? I thought you were joking!” Needless to say, he didn’t stick around much longer after that. Some people just aren’t cut out for a meal at the Heneises, but hey, if you can handle the chaos, you are always welcome to drop in at supper time and join us a for meal!