Monday, June 25, 2007

Now I Understand

When I was little we had these friends with 10 kids. They were rowdy and hospitable and we loved to go to their house. It was always happy chaos. There were kids of all ages everywhere and it wasn’t unusual to find toothbrushes in the commode and the like. One time one of their kids had spilled a bag of cheet-os on the carpet and hadn’t cleaned it up. The little kids were walking through the mess and picking cheet-os up from the floor and eating them. We were mortified.

Now I understand.

Once my sister and I babysat for a family with 4 boys while their parents went on a date. When we arrived the house was a disaster, according to our standard. Now our house wasn’t perfect, but it was never allowed to get like this. They also had a purple piano which seems really cool now, but then just seemed weird. (I was a lot more judgmental in those days about life and death matters like peoples’ paint choices.) Their boys were terrible, probably because we wouldn't let them watch TV. I was beside myself.

Friday night as I ran around trying unsuccessfully to get the house clean before the baby sitter arrived so Billy and I could go on a date I remembered how critical I had been.

Now I understand.

One time when I was a kid, my mom and us 5 kids were grocery shopping. We did it regularly so we had learned to be reasonably mannerly when out and about. Out of the blue a woman we had never seen before ran up to us and accused one of us of scratching her screaming son, who had been nowhere nearby. Then she shouted at my mom, “YOU THINK YOUR FAMILY IS SO PERFECT!!!!!!!”

At the time I was horrified (it was pretty shocking), but now…Well, there have been days that my kids were horrible in public and when I saw a family with well-behaved kids it made me just want to cry. She was probably having a really bad day.

Now I understand.


Melissa Scott said...

Such truth...age has done that to me too..just this realization more and more that I SO don't have it together and what a freedom that is to have that light bulb turn on spiritually, it is right where HE wants us! Love your post, love your blog
Thanks for your comments this morning.... I know there are TWO of your children I have never even we are due for a reunion soon!!!

Much love~Melissa

Erica said...

So true! Reminds me of Leah's post, idiotic statements!

Ryan's always said, when we have a kid, he's not going to act like THAT, or do THAT, (referring to the naughty kids he sees in the stores and restaurants) and I would laugh at his naiveness. Gabriel's showing him. lol He cries when we go out to eat, doesn't like to sit in his seat in the cart when we shop, etc.

Kids are not robots with programmable behavior! No matter how hard the parent tries the kid is not guaranteed to behave. :)

jennifer said...

I think that this is such a great post! Having been one of 8 siblings, mother of four children, I have had days like you wrote.

Not many, but it isn't always easy having everything together while home schooling. But Melissa said it the best...

I must say that I had many images from childhood while reading. My dad was killed so she was a single mom. My older brothers were truly little disasters. The girls tried to maintain sanity, but to no avail!

Charity Grace said...

Thanks for the sweet comments. You are right, Melissa, we are way overdue for a reunion. Maybe we'll both be in Texas at the same time one of these days!

Erica, I forgot about Leah's post, but you're right, it's basically the same thing. Sometimes you don't know till you've been there.

Jennifer, thanks for sharing. Your story is another good reminder to not cast judgment because I very well may not (probably don't) know all the facts. I have criticized people many times only to find out later that there were things going on with them that I didn't know about. That's humbling. I'd rather err on the side of love and mercy than criticism and judgment.