Monday, September 22, 2008

Family work day

Some days are just perfect. Family relationships shift with the slightest shuffle. Like a kaleidoscope, the colors re-arrange and fall into place beautifully.

Dominic came on this late summer weekend. Right on schedule the nights have a chill but the days warm up. We had three cords of wood dumped on our driveway on Saturday and Fred wasn't home to receive it. Poor Dominic! This is usually a job for the girls and me, but of course, he helped us get it ready for winter. It's a difficult chore we do every year, but like Liana reminded us, we need to think of the cozy fire in our little school room when the cold wind whips around outdoors.

By coincidence, Damien was planning to trim the hedges that same day, as he does twice a year. So we were all out in the yard working hard. Arielle and Liana loaded the logs into the wheelbarrow, Dominic pushed it to the garden, and I arranged it on the racks. When Damien finished his job, he joined in to help us. Then a friend of his stopped over and he helped us finish up. In a final whirlwind of motion, we actually completed stacking all the wood! It's back-breaking, but exhilarating work, and we were all quite pleased with ourselves. Fred came home from his class and was shocked to see it done.

It was only appropriate to celebrate that night by going to our favorite Chinese restaurant. Marissa and her boyfriend joined us, along with Damien's girlfriend. We all joked and laughed and carried on in the restaurant--the way close families do. There were no harsh words, and no hurt feelings this night--just pure fun.

Dominic needed a haircut so Marissa came back to the house with her scissors. Dominic requested something to keep the hair off his neck, so when I gave him a trash bag, he fashioned it into a cape. Fred came into the kitchen to show off his new bifocal safety glasses and I snapped a picture of these two goofy guys.

To top off the day, we had a rousing game of Blokus Trigon. Dominic had earlier bought this game for the girls. Just as when he was younger, he is tagged as "the one to beat." Everyone tries to beat him (usually unsuccessfully) at whatever the sport or game. In a battle of wits, I think his true rival will be Arielle in a few years. She is very competitive and can almost top him now.

Families! The joy, the grief. We have so many kids, there are plenty of both. That's just life. But it's a good life.

This morning I read Psalm 66 and as I reflected on the weekend (and my life) I realized these verses sum it up. "We went through fire and through water, yet God brought us out into a place of abundance...Come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell of what he has done for my soul. Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor his lovingkindness from me."

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