Note- I cleared the sentiments in this post with Elizabeth before I wrote it. I will be referring to her kids using their first initial. I don’t want their future prom date to google them…only to find a story from when they were five!
I talk about sitter swapping, and the kids who we watch two days a week, and are with my kids multiple times a week a lot. And usually, I am gushing. The Lord put my family and the Grimes together very clearly, and I feel very lucky that I can have a full-time job and have my kids watched by their dad, and one of my closest friends.
But sometimes, it is hard. Sometimes the very last thing I want to do after I have dealt with teenagers all day, is wrangle the combined Griman clan of 5 children 6 and under. And lately, having S and the Peanut in the same vicinity results in some serious love/hate shrieking. Peanut talks about S every day, even if she doesn’t see him that day. And a couple of times she has told me from the back seat “S hit me!” …..when S is not riding in my car. No one can tell me those two aren’t siblings.
Sometimes we get our wires crossed and I get to Elizabeth’s and surprise, I am babysitting, or surprise she is. Whoops. Sometimes in the rush to get out of either house I don’t know what to feed the kids, or we don’t leave enough diapers, outfits, formula. Sometimes I would just rather not be at any house but mine.
It happens, and I think there are days that only the fact that either, or both parties are in a rush to get out the door keeps the harsh words from flowing. But one of the things that I love about our relationship, and one of the things that makes it work is that we always give each other the benefit of the doubt, and we try to say yes as much as possible.
It is a good thing that these rules are in place, because sometimes the selfish part of me wants to say NO just like the Peanut. Just because I want to. I felt like that on Monday. I just wanted to go home. Or even less mature (spiritually or otherwise) there are days when I decide I am keeping score and things are not fair. I conveniently forget the fact that she has mine 2.5 days a week while I only do two. Or the fact that because we are at her house we eat her food. It is an ugly little corner of my heart.
But this is the amazing thing about community when it isn’t convenient. God honors those commitments, He meets you there, right where you don’t want to be. If you can get over yourself long enough to stop griping, there are treasures just lying around on the floor for you to pick up.
I started singing with the kids, when they go to bed. Just All Night All Day or the Goodnight song on the Laurie Berkner CD we have. It has been about a month and on Monday, J asked me to leave the door open so he could hear me better. I could tell he felt loved by this. It was nice. And earlier that night, when I picked up the Rooster, M cried out “can I hold her?” and all the kids got in a line to hold my baby. They wanted to love on her too, and she loved it. And I loved it. I’ll tell you this right now, the first time Rooster gets picked on there will be multiple rescuers available. She is adored over there. And I am thankful the Peanut learned how to be a sibling with that bunch. Thick as thieves at the Griman house.
Sometimes it is as simple as this. I come home from a hard day only to have to babysit. It is hard and I threaten the spankin’ spoon no less than three times per child (including mine). They finally go to bed only to have each kid get up to go to the bathroom. When Christian gets home I am frazzled, plus I know I haven’t been the best parental figure that day. We don’t have our computers over there so the first time in a week we have nothing better to do but talk to each other. And I feel better. Or Elizabeth comes home and says thank you and means it.
The more people you have in your life, really truly in your life, the more people there are to bump in to each other and bruise egos. It isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, and singing kumbaya together. But the more my ego gets bumped around, the smaller it gets. The easier it is for me to get it out-of-the-way.
I am learning that this is how the Lord works. He doesn’t put me where I am most comfortable. He puts me where I need to be and molds my heart until I am comfortable there.