Eldest heads back to college on Monday, and I have to say I'm sad. I so love having her here. The kids enjoy goofing around and being a whole family. There was one point last week when all five kids were crammed into the love seat together, chattering and laughing, happy to be a clan. I wish I'd taken a picture. The scene stays fixed in my mind, and I would like to give the kids a visual memory of that day so that they remember it, too.
The poignancy of that mental snapshot is that I've spent many hours this week on that same love seat talking to distraught, angry children who are struggling with their feelings about Big Guy. Big Guy's fun when he's fun, but he explodes; he's scary; he's unpredictable. It's hard to avoid the sense that he ruins everything. And lest I fall into the trap of that line of thinking, I remind myself that those difficult, empathetic conversations on the love seat with my battle-scarred children make up (perhaps) some of my best parenting moments.
Funny that it's called a love seat, no? For love is made up of many things besides happiness: empathy, companionship, patience, endurance, understanding, reconciliation, forbearance, and just staggering through.