Weather: Clear and Mild
Reading: Augustine’s Confessions
Listening To: J.S. Bach’s Cantata No. 140 – “Wachet Auf”
Benjamin and Sasha have just left.. whew!
I honestly don’t think any of us could’ve maintained anymore “quality time”.
There is an old Russian folk tale about a man who goes to a Wise Man for some help with his crowded, noisy house.
The Wise Man basically tells him to bring in all of his/his wife’s in-laws, and all of his animals into the house.
The man complies and his house is even more crowded, noisy, and messy. He returns to the Wise Man to complain.
The Wise Man tells him to return home and remove the animals from his house.
The man complies and realizes (by comparison) that his house really wasn’t as bad as he thought – he just needed some perspective.
That’s a rather clumsy way of describing how I feel.
Having them visit for a week has been great, but there have been times when things have just run a bit too close.
The four of us (Benjamin, Sasha, my Wife and I) are very different people with very different ideas on marriage and parenting – all of us trying to do the best that we know how. But all of us rather strong in our beliefs and assumptions.
Also… Benjamin and Sasha can get into very (verbally) violent arguments. Something to which my wife and I would rather our daughter not be exposed. Arguments that seem endless, and pyrrhic. So needless.
Candace and I believe that we should not let the sun set on our anger, and that even if one is angry with the other, we should strive to share our disagreements peacefully.
We also differ in our particular parenting techniques.
Benjamin’s daughters are obedient to him with an almost reverential fear, but can be outright belligerent with their mother, by stark contrast. A contrast that is far less obvious with my wife and I.
Although my wife is certainly less strict on our daughter, she is still rather effective in disciplining our daughter. Not to mention the fact that I’ve never seen my wife lose control with our daughter.
My daughter will typically listen to just about any adult – however, their daughters, in general, will seldom obey anyone else, save for their “Papa” who they will obey with fear of swift and severe reprisal.
In the week that they have been here, my daughter’s behavior has been rather poor. Her room has been demolished several times and my daughter has been uncharacteristically violent. My daughter’s bookshelves have also been emptied at least three times, something that my daughter has never done before.
I initially dismissed it as, my daughter not being used to playing with other children, but this is not true. Having attended day care for several years she is quite used to other children – and I’ve never had any reports of this type of behavior from any of her teachers.
So I’m left to wonder at what the causation might be…
I think a good example of this divergence could be Sunday afternoon, as Benjamin and I were enjoying some apple pie at the dining room table. I lightly mentioned that his wife was “brave” for leaving some of her books/papers on the dining room table over a night or so.
My meaning was that, if they were important, it was risky to leave them on the dining room table where any of the children had access to them and/or they could be ruined if someone spilled food and/or drink.
Benjamin seemed to bristle at this, as though he was offended that I would dare to imply that any child of his would ever do such a thing – being so well trained.
He called his elder daughter to the table and went through a rather absurd performance with her. Asking her if she would ever touch those papers, and why she wouldn’t, etc.
She, of course, responded that she would never touch “Papa’s” books or papers.
I kept my head down, focused on my food and bit my tongue to keep from breaking into inappropriate laughter.
I (or any parent) could ask their children if they would do something – and get that same response.
It led me to wonder if Benjamin is naive or just in denial as to what his children would and wouldn`t do.
<sigh> I don’t mean to sound so negative…
I adore him and I cherish his family – this week has, on the whole, flowed quite smoothly and without any great incident. That is, any incident from my point of view.
With assistance of my mother we bought a video camera to preserve memories and keep our family abreast of our growth and our wonderful life.
. . .
My wife is now nine months pregnant and her tolerance to this week’s chaos has been inspiring. She has not been getting much sleep and has had to deal with a house full of people. Her patience, humility and strength of character have moved me greatly.
I am Blessed to have such a wife.
Many women have done well, but she exceeds them all.
Now things will return to normal.
My wife and I will have our quiet evenings with our dear affectionate daughter as we wait for my son to arrive.
…and Peace will return to my home.
. . .
Spring is finally here.
I can return to my morning jogs through the sleeping city. My days of study and learning. My evening walks with my little girl, as I tell her stories about the stars and Tree Fairies. My dark, quiet times with my wife – as we hold each other under the canopy of music that covers my home.
Southern nights and long warm days…
Israel… come quickly to me, my son.
I have so much to show you, so much to teach you.
Your mother, your sister, and I await you eagerly.
Quote o’ the day:
“In some countries there are trees that will grow,
But will bear no fruit,
Because there is no Winter there.”
– John Bunyan, (1628-1688)