Last night after dinner, the dishes stayed unwashed. No one picked up toys or started a load of laundry. No one went online or even to the mailbox. None of the things we usually push into the space between dinner and bedtime.
Instead the four of us sat on the floor in the living room in front of the warm fireplace. Puppy and I played with his cars and dolls. Firefly rocked back and forth at T's feet, pretending she was interested in learning to crawl. Mostly we were just together. Together as a family, enjoying each other. Resting in the bonds we share.
This week we've been rocked by some difficult revelations in our extended family. T and I are, I think, feeling a little pummeled from trying to be shields and filters for our children. In times like this, when other people's brokenness crowds in on my kids' happiness, part of me wants to shut out the world. I want to gather them to me like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wing, as if by hiding them I can protect them just a little bit longer.
Of course, I know that this not only impossible but unwise. I'd be failing my kids if I pretended difficult relationships didn't exist instead of helping them learn how to process them. But how I wish I could spare them the hurt that comes along with that.
Giggling with Puppy on the floor last night, I wanted to promise him that this family will always be a safe place. A place of unconditional love and honesty. An emotional refuge when life's inevitable battles come along. But those are the kinds of words better left unspoken, even if he were old enough to understand them. The kind of refuge I want our family to be for them is built through actions, not words.
Last night we played and snuggled and forgave each other small wrongs. Today we rise to do the same. Building our shelter for them, piece by piece.
Happy Love Thursday. I hope you all have a refuge of love and safety somewhere.