Julianna is sitting on the couch with the Night Before Christmas book her grandparents Basi recorded for the kids. “Hey Bruvvers! BRUVVERS!” she hollers. “Come! Here!” Deep in Lego Land (AKA the back bedroom), the boys don’t acknowledge her. But Julianna is not to be deterred. She clomps up the stairs, never thinking how much effort it takes her to do so, and yells, “BRUVVERS!!!!” And before you know it, they’re all sitting together on the couch, listening to their grandparents read them a story…just because Julianna wants to share.
Michael, sitting at the table on Epiphany Sunday painting a wooden train with Daddy, hears a song start on the CD player. “O Holy Night,” he says, even before the intro finishes.
“Oh yeah? That’s O Holy Night? Who’s singing it?”
I think I might die of sweetness.
Every year I spend about a month, in the midst of Advent busy-ness, thinking about New Years resolutions. This year, nothing really coalesced until I was writing a column on the Virgin Mary for Liguorian, and I realized that what I need most is not more things to do but instead a more peaceful, contemplative and above all grateful outlook on life. Power struggles with Nicholas deplete my resources, and I often find myself in, well, let’s say a very negative funk. So I simply chose a word for this year: treasure. As in “Mary treasured all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” I treasure plenty of things in my heart, but they aren’t necessarily the right things.
And although I am a firm believer in concrete, measureable resolutions, I think this is the right path for me this year.
So things are a little more intentional in our house now. At least so far. I thought back to my childhood and remembered how we each had two nights a week where we had to do dishes. But I couldn’t stop there. Maybe because my family was all girls and we were not such doggone messy eaters, Mom didn’t make us sweep the floor every night. But the Basi family needs that. So I set up a chore chart:
So far it’s going reasonably well. The kitchen is definitely cleaner.
The other change is that Fridays are family game night now. The other day we played an entire game of Life. It was wild, let me tell you. Michael wanted to buy Alex’s houseboat, and would NOT stop asking. You know how persistent a three-year-old can be; imagine one who can delude himself that he hasn’t gotten his way because nobody understands him. He just kept saying over and over, “I want, to buy, Awex, house.” Over…and over…and over…for most of an hour. Nicholas and Alex were in a battle to the death. Julianna wanted to snuggle, which meant every time we let her spin, she had to unfold all those long, skinny, uncoordinated limbs, and everyone had to guard the board and all their various pieces of paper. And of course, the younger three all short-circuited within five minutes of each other, and their restlessness meant guarding the board and papers all the time. It was fun, up until then. But wow, it was wild.
The days I have been dreading for years have arrived. Most of the time, Michael thinks he is too big to be chewed or have his belly kissed. I am trying very hard to respect his perception of himself as a big boy. In the grand scheme of things I do want him to be a big boy, not a baby. But oh, I’ve been dreading this day ever since I knew he was likely to be the last.
The kids went back to school this week. After taking off almost the entire months of November and December from “revenue-generating” writing (for now, fiction is a labor of love and faith), I have a heavy load of deadlines. I spent this week’s school days in a fever of focus and productivity, but there is so much more to be done. So I sign off with links to my earlier posts this week for anyone who is visiting from the linkup: Consent is NOT Sexy, and The Day We Lost Julianna.
Happy weekend to all the Seven Quick Takes people…and to everyone else!