Yesterday afternoon I got a text from a friend asking if I could watch his one-year old for the evening. In my mind I weighed the issue: Garrett gone on trip, friends coming over for dinner....oh, sure why not. What's one more kid? And they can entertain each other, I reasoned. The decision sprang largely from something my husband said a few weeks ago, mainly that being in community means living sacrificially for each other. It means choosing to inconvenience myself for the people I'm committed to. The little guy showed up at 4:30.
It's hard to explain how it all went wrong. It started out fine, kids playing, had snack, dinner underway. And then suddenly- it was chaos. It was like Josiah and Ella were competing for who could need the most attention, all the while the older two boys were being unusually difficult. But I pressed on. I put little man in the high chair to minimize wandering and feed him. Ella was determined to be upstairs, so I set Drew on guard duty.
At 5:50, dinner cooking, table set, first guest arrives at the back door. As she steps through and closes it behind her, a small voice from the dining room yells, "Naked bootie!" I knew. I fumed. I screamed, "Put your clothes back on!" before I was even out of the kitchen. And once in the dining room my fears were confirmed: both boys preparing to streak through the house totally naked.
Dinner burning. Guests arriving. Gray hairs multiplying.
But we survived. And in the big scheme of things the chaos was temporary and the rest of the evening was pleasant.
So I think it was good- good to stretch myself a little, good for friends to arrive and experience a situation that is much more real to life than my children waiting for them pleasantly in the backyard. It's good to live honestly and openly with others, and to recognize that inconveniencing ourselves for others is just that- a minor inconvenience. But it speaks of the ability to live outside ourselves, adjust our expectations, and roll with the punches a bit.