Friday, June 24, 2011

Lessons of a Family

When you come from a large family there are alot of things you learn very quickly.  Like the fact that if  you don't go ahead and grab the last Popsicle someone will, you might as well enjoy it.  Or if you lock your brother out of his room, don't stand behind the door as if holding it shut, it is very likely his fist will soon breach said door and smack you in the head.  Also, when hiding make sure you have more than 1 escape plan, 1 leads to nothing more than heart ache.  You have to be careful not to let the cookies sit too long, or they won't be there (it's best to eat them before they are put into the oven).  And for goodness sake, if you are going to eat the cookie dough, make sure you have the time to swipe the spoon around a couple of mixes before Mom walks in.  Otherwise she will claim to have eyes in the back or her head or a bird on her shoulder (both of which are confusing at a small age and will leave you looking for said eyes and bird for years to come), when in reality she saw your fingerprints in the dough.

You also learn that in order to have a loving home the house doesn't always have to be clean, the dishes don't always need to be washed, and it's very likely the laundry will never really be done.  You should wipe your feet after playing in the mud, but when you forget, Mom will forgive.  It's ok to play outside in the rain, just remember to come in when the lightning starts.  The "Not Me Monster" takes alot of blame, and the younger the child the easier it is to blame things on them (best if they can't talk or defend themselves yet).  Just make sure, if you are going to claim they wrote in perfect English on the wall they are old enough to spell.

It doesn't take the genius in the family to figure out there is always a genius in the family, often more than 1.  There is always a clown.  Always a nurturer, a protector, and a complete misfit.  And while each child may play their rolls, they all often decide to trade around so there's no telling who you will be today.

I learned growing up in a family of 6 kids that no matter what the fight was about, no matter how mad Dad got or Mom yelled, no matter what was said or whose feelings got hurt; at the end of the day when all was said and done all was forgiven.  Once faces were washed, teeth cleaned, hair brushed, and prayers said there was a peace.

I often think about what it must have been like for my parents to walk past our rooms in our large quiet house late at night.  Looking in for 1 final time on each of their children.  I think the only time we were all truely peaceful and quiet was during those wee hours of the night.  Tucked so quietly in our beds.  It was probably during these times when my parents were able to really smile and contentment knowing that whatever tomorrow brought today had been a sucess.  When just for a moment the care and troubles of today and the the anticipation of tomorrow faded into the right now.  I'm sure in those few moments they forgot that we had tried to pummel each other with frying pans, voted each other out of the house because there were too many, we eaten all the cookie dough, muddied the floors, and even eaten the last popsicle.  In those few moments the world was at peace, there was no fighting, there was no yelling, and all was right with the world.

I look back on those times now and see what I truely learned in those moments.  That growing up in a large family you learn to forgive.  You learn that each person has their imperfections, that you will never get along with everyone all the time.  That there is always room for improvement.  But that at the end of the day, no matter what happened when you close your eyes your family will be there.  Maybe not all of them all the time, but someone.  You'll always have someone there.  And as each child settles into their life rolls, you realize you don't always need the clown in your life, but there is a time when you need to laugh.  The protector will always be there to stand up and show their support and battle of those that attack.  That the genius has not only the brains of the family, but the wisdom.  The nurturer will always be there to pick you up if you fall down.  And as each of us move on to our new lives, with out own families, we see these traits passed on to our children, and we hope that we are passing on the same life lessons our parents passed on to us.  That when the day is done, and the lights are out, and we are gone we will have nurtured a relationship between our children that they can depend on.  One that when the day ends they can all lay in the same bed and sleep in peace by each other, with no strife and no annomosity against each other.

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