The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~~Erma Bombeck
Tonight was the first time in what seems like weeks that all five of us sat down for supper together. Between my husband's travels and my kids' jobs, classes and activities, there's always someone missing at meal time. As we joined hands to say the blessing, I was reminded of an article I wrote a few years ago for a woman's group. I dug it out tonight and I realized that even though the details have changed, the pace our family is going is still high speed!
Somedays it seems that I never finish anything. The laundry, house cleaning, book reading, a knitting project, writing an article that swims about in my mind -- never reach completion. The beds are unmade and the ingredients for a new recipe are piled in the pantry.
So many things are interrupted -- a sentence, a phone call where I'm left on hold, changing a roll of toilet paper. The bedding plants are purchased, but the beds need to be turned over. The gallon of paint for the staircase waits for the wood to be sanded and stripped.
My mind fails to complete a thought. My son fails to complete his homework. The trash man fails to complete his pick-up so our recyclables remain with us for another week.
The box of cake mix sits on the counter, the party plan is still in my head and my 5-year-old reminds me daily that his birthday is just days away. A list of "things to return" sits on my desk, along with a list of "things to pickup." If only I could exchange a little girls' size 9 sneakers at the same place I need to pick up eyeglasses for a boy, aged 10. It would save me an extra trip.
The clock creeps toward 5:30 and the mad dash begins to put something together for dinner. Out comes the strange array of ingredients from the pantry, quickly a menu plan formulates in this tired mind, one hand stirs the pot on the stove while the other pats a little head, one ear on the piano lesson in the front room, the other straining to hear the sound of footsteps coming through the front door, which means it is time to pour that much-wanted glass of wine and contine this morning's unfinished conversation
A half hour later we are all seated at the kitchen table, hands joined to say the blessing. Our party of five, with five heads bowed and five pairs of hands clasped to form a circle. Eventually finding unison, we begin our prayer. "Bless us O Lord. . ." And now, in this moment, I know that my life is complete.