Charter brought a friend over. It was the bewitching "cookie hour" - y'know that time of day when everyone is hungry and roaming the kitchen getting underfoot as you're trying to get supper on the table. The house quickly slides into a disgraceful state & the noise level climbs - babies cry, teens wanna listen to music & the middlies get hyper. The afternoon sun hits all your back windows in the thick of this so that you can see every speck of dust on your floor and every tiny finger print on every surface is so distinct - you could almost identify the difference between a grease smudge and a honey smudge if you could get your eyes to focus in your mid-afternoon brain-fog.
i was late getting supper into the oven & had my big girls helping me, peeling potatoes and carrots while Peyton cheerfully dj'd our afternoon, pumping Abba, Fiddler on the Roof and whatever else is in our current household top 40 through our house speakers.
It was getting out of control... & i knew it was when i heard one girl laugh, "Ahahahaa... It's a good thing Dad's not here." (Dad = the noise police).
i tried to flick the music a little softer, but their feet were pounding as they danced - hair flinging over shoulders. i glanced at Charter's friend - who comes from a family with 2 children - and wondered if i was gonna get in trouble for letting them listen to something inappropriate... (dang - why do all the songs on the radio these days have to have swears in them??) i furrowed my brows... what must he think of our cookie hour chaos? i imagined his mama pulling their dinner out of the oven with classical music wafting through the house... her two boys - showered & fully clothed - (Ephraim is wearing his undies & the snot is flowing down his sweet little chin...) What a little side show we must be to the little ones from our neighbourhood who come in when i'm not ready - and see the dirty underbelly of a family of 9...
Finally - it was as if we had entered the frenzy stage... i had to literally duck in my own kitchen and grab the baby who had stumbled under the dancing hoofs of the others - someone was banging erratically on the piano - & i swear every child was shouting out every word in ecstatic glee to the chorus of "the hamster dance"... i was sure that Neil could hear us in Saskatchewan & i was going to get an irritated text about it any moment.
The song ended, and the littles collapsed in giggling heaps - i grabbed the volume knob and gave it a hefty turn to the left.
In that tiny moment of calm, Charter's friend - as if to assuage my worry said, "You guys think this is crazy? You should see my house... our dog can dance."
Is it bad that i'm relieved he wasn't impressed?
But y'know as much as i suck at "people"... i *know* beyond a shadow of a doubt that people are important.
i wanna be that mama that always welcomes another pair of feet under her table.
i wanna have the house where the children want to be.
i wanna be the house where there might be chaos, but there's love... where there might be mess, but there's laughter, where there might be tears, but there's forgiveness & relationship.
So throw wide the doors that would keep curious eyes out & the fear & shyness that would try to keep a tight reign on mama's little kingdom.
We've got a love to share & it won't be shared if we don't ever let the neighbours in.
ps - i want to clarify that this isn't my reflex. My reflex is to tell my little ones friends to go home. My reflex is to say, "not today... not right now... can we not have anyone over? Ever?" But every year, i get a little better, a little more intentional, a little softer to the ones that my Father gently brings to my door. i'm a slow-poke, but i'm learning stretching and growing - and grateful for my Papa who is showing me how...