You’d think I’d get used to it. I don’t.
When my daughter visits from across the ocean, we stop the busy-to-do-lifestyle life. We go to indie coffee shops and on long walks in the neighborhood and make sure we meet with friends. We bake cookies and craft meals together from scratch and make a mess in the kitchen and clean it up together. We don’t mind.
We turn off the Internet and the X-box and the phone, at least we try to.
We talk and we laugh and we hug and we share stories and we look at photos and we watch old home videos.
And laugh some more and reminisce and recall and recollect and remember.
We invite friends and family and grandparents and cousins and extended family over for dinner and coffee and neighborhood walks and long talks. We go out to lunch and we go to the movies and we go to the mall to photobomb with Santa .
We sit around the dining room table way longer than usual and watch the youngest brother blowing out candles then lighting them again and we tell him not to but he does it anyway.
The brothers still fight and argue and complain sometimes but it is all okay when my daughter, their sister, is home.
I am not sure why, but it just is.
When my daughter is home, I watch her plop herself down next to her brothers and put her arms around them, and I see her brothers melt into her arms and they put their arms around their sister, randomly, out of the blue. They hug her and bear hug her and smile a big smile around her and when they do this I smile a big smile. It is good.
Because it is.
We celebrate conversation and savor stories and go on special outings and take time to talk and walk and just to be.
We take the time for slowing and sipping and relaxing and baking and cooking and being.
My daughter asks each of her brothers’ questions and listens to their stories and asks follow up questions and makes follow up comments. My daughter takes each of her brothers out on individual outings to talk with them and find out their dreams and gives them ideas and suggestions without preaching at them.
My daughter pops in on her brothers’ rooms when they are hanging out or putting clothes away or playing x-box and somehow she gets them to hang with her. When they are on the couches doing their homework, she nestles in next to them and they let her.
My daughter tells her brothers she loves them and that they are special and that they mean a lot to her and that they are the world to her and that family is the most important thing and that God loves them. My daughter comes home for Christmas break for them; she comes home on their special birthdays for them. She spends thousands of Euros that she does not have for plane tickets to visit them. She buys them birthday presents and Christmas presents with specific thoughts as to what they would like and she makes them presents and photo calendars that are so special to her middle school brother that he puts it on his wall. He never puts anything on his wall, except maybe that poster of that car.
Because we know that my daughter will only be home for a short period of time. We know that our time with my daughter, my sons’ sister is limited. We know that the time with her will come to an end and we will have to say good-bye. For now.
And what gets us through is knowing we will see her again soon.
We are Mary around my daughter when she is home. We do not even know who Martha is in our family when my daughter is home. (Luke 10: 38-42)
I know that I have to be Martha sometime again, but not while my daughter is home. I never ever want to forget who Mary is, even when my daughter is not home.
To have time for my kids, to make time for my kids, and for others. There is no such thing as hurried time. Or rushed time. Or drive-through time. Kids know it, your family knows it, your friends know it, you know it.
May I be Mary to all people, knowing that time together, just being present, is what matters. May I treat all of my people, my family, my friends, as if they are only here a short time. Because, maybe they are. Maybe I am.
Just as I know my daughter is.
[UPDATE: An hour after publishing this blog, Chris and I were hit by an SUV and I was unconscious for 30 minutes. We were rushed to the hospital and are on a long road to recovery. A month after our accident I penned this: http://www.corneliaseigneur.com/on-the-accident-and-angels-and-the-rest-of-my-life/]