Inefficient. Time-consuming. Labor-intensive.
This is how I experience family, so why wouldn’t a community that wants to create intimacy be any different?
When I babysit my grandson, after he leaves, our house looks like a Toys R Us bomb hit our house. One my of my kids asked me if this drove me crazy. And I could say with total honesty, “NO WAY! This is a gift.”
My grown up children come for visits and bring their pets. This requires some adjustments. It is also true that when we go out of town, my children take care of my pets. Convenient? Yes, lots of times it is just so so lovely, but not always. Just this morning I was attacked by a cat in search of safety because his ‘cousin’ Charley, a precious little Cava-Poo with occasional mood swings was playing a game of chase and the cat did NOT get the memo. Little cat marks tattooed my arms post ruckus; I can again say, “I love this.” I love it that my children are in town, available and willing to hang out with their parental units and even share their pets with us.
Probably for the last five years of my mom’s life visiting her was painful. She worked so hard to look like she had it all together. I knew my visits stressed her out AND my NOT visiting would stress her out too. Messy. She complained to one of my brothers that I never called her and to another she said I was always interrupting her busy day with my frequent calls. Complicated. I called her anyway. I listened and smiled as the complaints were relayed second-hand. I just had to do what I thought the next right thing (as I understood the needs day-to-day).
In all these things, what can I say? I am filled with gratitude. I am grateful for this crazy, messy, chaotic, inefficient, life that is filled with love, laughter, tears, stress, conflict and….second chances. We work so hard to understand and figure out and fix and resolve and do it “right” – and certainly there is merit to all of that seeking and searching. But as we do that, let’s not forget the value of a shared meal, a play date, a long leisurely coffee break with someone we love.
Clean houses, orderly schedules, endless quests for self-fulfillment (with the emphasis on SELF) may be better fantasies than real life practices! So if you need it, here is permission: enjoy this day with people you love – with this one precious life that you have to live.