We had a relaxed, quiet Sunday--my favorite kind. Phill put a roast in the crock-pot early in the day, and by 3:00 the delicious fragrance was wafting through the house. We all lounged on the couches, alternately napping, cuddling, and watching movies.
When dinner rolled around, Phill set the food on the table and I followed with dishes. We sat down and immediately the kids began their familiar chorus: "This looks weird." "But I don't like beef." "What are those black spots?" "Can I eat just three bites?" I could feel the annoyance rising within me and fought to keep it under wraps. I remembered something my beautiful cousin posted a few days ago--something from another someone who was definitely inspired. I kept my voice level as I answered with the same calm answer, numerous times: "This is dinner. If you don't eat it, you'll be hungry." I decided to actually spoon-feed Jaxon to get him to try his food--"Oh! Actually I like beef." and convincing Reed to have a few more bites of potatoes before he had more mandarin oranges.
Gradually their protests died. They weren't wolfing down the food, but they were eating, and their voices weren't raised in a dissonant chorus anymore. I realized my extra effort to be patient with them had produced a new environment.
Though they were still loud, the sounds became happy. Then they tried to talk to me all at once, and I found myself surrounded by their joyful voices, all trying to get me to listen to them....and suddenly something that is so often hard for me to handle became music to my ears. I looked at their faces and laughed with them, relishing the fact that they want to talk to me, they want my attention, they love me....and then that love--which is always there but sometimes obscured by all the daily detritus--that love just bowled me over and I wasn't just laughing, but crying, too. How blessed am I? And who am I, to be so blessed? What on earth did I do to deserve such abject joy? It bowls me over at times, so much so that I can hardly stand it, and I understand the phrase, "I love you so much it hurts." Moments like these are the ones I file away for reference in those times when the feeling doesn't come so readily. Moments like these make the difficult times worthwhile.