hello to our current little family of the last nearly four months…
You girls, know what’s fun? Sitting around playing Uno in the glow of our newly strung up Christmas lights and blaming our farts on each other. There is something strangely healing and sacred about moments like these. Moments where we all come from different pasts, we’re all facing different futures, and tonight we sit and we laugh and we look at each other and we help each other and our bellies are all full of the same meal I ate nearly every Sunday night for all of my childhood. Chips and Beans. It’s nachos. But for some reason we never called it that. Tonight it doesn’t matter what we call it. We’re just eating it and farting around the house while we laugh and life feels alright.
But it really isn’t.
I don’t know if either of you girls know this, but I’m usually a pretty positive guy. I really am. I’m always trying to see the positive. It’s annoying. Sometimes I’m actually rude in the ways I’m trying to figure out how to make everything seem like it’s okay. Today I’m recognizing (once again) that things aren’t okay and that’s just how it is.
Remember how cool it was to be with so many people on thanksgiving this week?
Me too. Sort of…
Except for the parts that I was terrified that someone would say some sort of general comment about the groups of people you identify with and Aunt Lacey or Uncle Seth would lose their minds and say something we regret…except we wouldn’t really regret it at all. It’s weird how much energy goes into planning out arguments that never happen. And I’m grateful for the love extended to our unique little team this weekend. (Side note to the rest of the world: I love my wife’s side of the family, they’re 100% my family too. I love their support and compassion and desire to walk with us however they can figure out to. They’re wonderful people that I deeply love. These rants aren’t even close to some sort of reflection on anyone else’s problems outside of our own mess.)
It was also cool except for the part where we’re basically having a day to revel in our own gluttony and we’ve been busting our butts for the last 4 months to try and continue the work that’s been done in your life to help instill some healthy ways of viewing food and here I am eating 3 pieces of pie in front of you and keeping constant vigil to make sure no one is sneaking you food because I’m scared you might associate this place as being the place where you get all the food we never let you have because your nutritionist is worried about your health and most days we are too. Also I’m feeling pathetic about my own self because I’m annoyed someone just snuck you an extra bite and also I’m eating too much pie because Aunt Lauren is really good at making pie and right now I’m using this sweet, perfectly baked pie to make myself feel better except I know it won’t and I know that’s exactly what I’m trying to teach you not to do and I’m doing it anyway.
It was cool except for the parts where I felt like we had to know where you were every single second because you’re mildly into stealing and breaking things and I’m actually worried you’re going to just haul off and punch our 3 year old niece in the face and you don’t even get why it’s a big deal and you have absolutely zero remorse. Luckily only a few of those things happened! So at least we’ve got that, right?! Genuinely and non-sarcastically proud of you for holding it together until the last few family moments were cut short when you tried to break everything you could see and we had to put you in the car seat as you screamed and cried and told us how awful we were.
It was cool except for the part where I’m worried that you know enough to know that people are talking louder to you because they think you’ll understand their English when they yell at you. Or when people just keep trying to hug you instead of figuring out how to ask if it’s okay to touch you when I know that you actually hate being touched and I’m wondering if it’s more embarrassing for me to just let it happen or for me to speak up and then make you feel awkward when you see their confused face as they slowly quit trying to hug you. Or the parts where I’m constantly worried you’ll never come out of the room you’ve sat in for hours with the door closed. It’s less of a teenage, anti-social thing and more of a if I was you I’d probably really consider acting on my suicidal feelings really regularly too kind of thing.
PS to my wife: you’re some sort of something that is beyond my understanding. How you deal with all of this and ME on top of it. I don’t know how you do it. Because I know that the grouchiness and tiredness I feel is nothing compared to what actually comes out. It’s always worse than it seems to myself. And you still want to kiss me sometimes, even when my mouth is so quick to snap out words that break everything around me.
It’s all weird, isn’t it? And is weird even enough to describe it all? No it isn’t, but my bachelors degree in the Bible didn’t educate me with the words to really verbalize these moments. Well, maybe it did and I just spent too much time planning minesweeper. My bad if that’s the case. I probably learned some word in greek that would actually describe this perfectly. But here we are and I don’t know that word.
These Christmas lights were supposed to make everything feel like it’s all alright.
Isn’t that the magic of Christmas?
Aren’t the stories of Santa and snow and Jesus getting born and people loving each other supposed to remind us that it’s all going to be okay?
it isn’t working.
I guess that’s the thing about hope though.
When we don’t have the words, when we don’t feel a single ounce of it left in our bones, when nothing really makes sense, when we’re not sure what your life or our life is going to look like tonight or tomorrow let alone 10 years from now…we keep holding on anyway.
Today I was reminded that there is not enough we could know that could possibly reassure us that it’s gonna be okay. There is nothing we could know that would really make anything much better than it currently is. All we’ve got is the chance to love the people in front of us and the One that’s got us all here in the first place.
And if we love enough, I hear that the hope sneaks right into the parts of our souls and bones that ache for something more than we’re all experiencing right now.
So, there’s that.