11/52 On Being Together

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So here’s the thing: the only thing I pulled out my camera for this week was to take pictures of a recipe I was trying, so I wouldn’t forget how I did it. Thus, there just aren’t any portraits of each of my children to share this week.

Honestly, it’s amazing to look at their individuality and ponder their personalities, because indeed they are each so unique and different, and I love admiring them and learning from them.

But the truth is, we spend our days together, not alone, so it’s fitting to have a week now and then where I see them as a group, a little crew that roams together. Because they do, and this is how we roll.

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Last week when the first signs of Spring rolled in, Luke sent the kids to the playhouse to repaint the graffiti wall…the wall we created for them to paint on whenever they want…then the rain slowly but surely washes it away, the sun fades it, and they can do it all over again.

So with a fresh clean coat of white paint they got to work covering the wall again and starting from scratch. I’m not gonna lie, not all of the children were thrilled about this. And one of them was still sick on the couch, so without speaking in code, it was more like Landis eagerly grabbing the paint brushes and painting, while Big sister kind of frowned through it all and would have rather been playing Trivia Crack on her phone (does anyone else have a kid who’s into that right now?)

After it all dried, they took pencils to the wall and created some designs, and by that time J was ready to participate, so they pulled out the paints and got creative (there was still a grumbler though).

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They eventually grew tired of the whole thing so it sits unfinished, but they will get back to it by and by and it’s just a fun thing to have as an option outside.

So we do things together, and I love it. Each of my kids knows what the other one likes, knows which show is their favorite, which game they’re gonna want to play, what the other sibling will want to do outside, etc. We move together as a group, and it’s good and I don’t want it any other way.

I’m not gonna lie though, it’s hard too. And for some reason it seems like we are in this season of bickering and sometimes I just sigh.

I remember honestly thinking (many years ago) that my kids would not fight. I’d have friends telling me about their kids fighting, and I truly believed that somehow our home would be the peaceful home where everyone gets along and prefers each other and are each other’s best friends.

Ah, but reality. I mean, I really believe we have an overall peaceful home, and I know it truly is filled with God’s presence and blessing.

But sometimes the bickering is enough to drive one mad. And that “one” is me.

I think the bickering is aggravating and frustrating and I’m constantly trying to deal with it, or whine about it, or ignore it, or quote Scriptures, or make the bickerers sit right next to each other on the couch and read a book and see how they like that.

But besides just being humans and having a sin nature, could the bickering also be the result of a family who spends tons of time together? I’ve been realizing that we are a family that does everything together. We read books together, bike together, cook together, watch tv together, play outside together. Whatever it is, I’m usually insisting that it’s done together.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of alone time, but when it comes down to it, my kids are constantly being put into situations where either their own preferences are pouring forth by the bucket, or they’re having to listen to their siblings overflow of preferences.

But they are together.

And we value and treasure that. It’s always been extremely important to us to be living life together and for each other. So it isn’t any wonder that the bickering is going to spill out, because the personal preferences are flying in each other’s faces and having to be dealt with.

It’s hard as a mom to hear the fighting and to be the interventionist all the time (I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom for some quiet “I can’t help you right now” time). It’s hard to see your children acting like they hate each other.

But they’re together. And I have to keep reminding myself of this.

The more time with people, the more opportunity for conflict, am I right?

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So of course it’s going to follow that my kids are going to fight because they spend so much time together.

And yes, ultimately my desire is that they get along and grow up to be the kind of siblings that voluntarily choose  to spend time together. But I’m beginning to realize that the process to getting there is going to include conflict.

And the alternative–not spending time together–is something I’m not willing to accept.

So for now, we may be fighters, we may even be haters, but we are together, learning each other, knowing each other, touching each other, and I truly believe this is the best thing ever.

Plenty of times each and every day I have no clue how to handle each situation, but I cam constantly praying through it and seeking wisdom on how to create a peaceful home, and I have hope that eventually the efforts will pay off.

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