last night, after a long day of playing with kids in a very inspiring(this means mary poppinsish and equals extremely tiring) and ultimate ‘auntie’ like way i entered my brother’s house with feet ever so slightly dragging for yet another family gathering. it was my sister-in-law’s birthday, her 40th, not to be missed–a big day for anyone and because that number is getting ever so much closer for me, all the more real.
in a large family like mine, gatherings–especially on a sunday–seem to come around more often than not and sometimes my boundaries pull a full stop and require that i abstain from participating. a house full of children, siblings, guitar hero, jacuzzi water fights and any other number of fantabulous diversions can only go so far into the goodtimes zone some nights when all you want is a little down time, a hot bath, maybe a good book and solitude. but we all don’t know what’s good for us all the time do we? i really did want to go to the b-day party, i just wanted the downtime as well–and since there’s always more time for down, off to the party i went.
i have to admit, i was a tiny bit excited. i actually had an awesome gift to give– a little homemade delight that came straight from the heart and lifted my spirits just in the making. how great is that, to begin to shift the tired and overwhelmed energy–really just by thinking of someone else with warmth and love as you make them something tiny and thoughtful? why do all those wise sayings of ‘find yourself in service’ or ‘get outside of yourself to find the love’ begin to ring so true in this instance? when i gave the gift, my sister-in-law was delighted with it, but i’m not sure that’s even what did it for me, it was really in the space where i imagined giving her spirit a gift of myself that i was able to warm the very cockles of my heart. (so funny, actually spotted a tray of ‘cockles’ straight from new zealand the other day in the grocery store. have you ever even known what cockles were? they’re sort of like mussels–but the image is so much more complete for me now. kind of like,if you open them up, they are even shaped like a lumpy and imperfect heart).
the evening progressed, songs were sung, crepes were made, snow angels straight out of the jacuzzi were attempted and overwhelm returned to gray the edges. then a moment of transformation overtook me, and i abandoned my tired ego to the joy of the evening...in the room just off the kitchen, two little girls sang into their microphones with wild abandon!!! They didn’t care that adults and teenagers looked on laughing, they didn’t care that they had never even heard this song before, they only cared to wrap their arms around eachother and rejoice to ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ !! how can they even read the words fast enough to keep up with the song, much less imbue it with such real emotion? a momentary illumination took my own heart, i questioned this week about just what it is parents are teaching their children, the much more important and very life changing question is …”what are the children teaching their parents?”.