When **I** was asked to watch the kiddos that we kept several months ago when they first arrived here till their dad got settled in (mom was in basic training) a couple of weeks ago, I was less than thrilled. First, it kind of rubbed me funny that they'd hired a live-in nanny so they could have child care round the clock...and yet they really just hired the first gullible person without truly knowing her character. It also rubbed me sideways that the mom felt the need to tell me (who she'd met minutes before) her life story and how horrible the whole situation was....all while standing in my kitchen tossing out ridiculous comments about how many kids we have and how they "figured out what caused that and fixed it". However, I'm a sucker for desperate situations, so I did something I thought would benefit several people--I volunteered Kelsey for the job of full-time babysitting for two weeks, at THEIR house (because Lord knows I'd have gone nuts with her wild trio in my house--I can handle chaos, but not children who scream bloody murder at the mere mention of the word "no" and who have no concept of boundaries or authority at all). Kelsey is saving up for a mission trip to Panama this summer, and the job would cover most of her expenses, plus the kids would have a well-trained babysitter!
I didn't anticipate the reward of having Kelsey learn some seriously valuable lessons in what real dysfunctional families look like! She made a little mention the night they hired her about how "cool" the mom was and how she was really easy to be around.....but that was a 17-year-old's front-page perspective. Lo and behold, when Kelsey saw that "cool" mom who could hang with the young gals in place as a wife and mother, the immaturity came pouring out like sweat in a sauna! Kelsey has never witnessed a wife verbally bashing her husband like she's seen the last week and a half, and she's absolutely floored at some of the comments that this "cool" mom makes. She also laments the fact that her babysitting job is made twice as difficult because the kids' bedrooms are off-limits to them (I don't really understand why, other than not wanting to clean them up) and they have only one room to play in--the living room--and all of their toys are in the garage, which right now is too chilly to play in!
Oh, the IRONY.....all of a sudden, Kelsey is coming home wanting her little sisters to hang all over her, because she MISSED them! And folks, she comes into our house of four little squealy girls just singing the praises of how QUIET it is here and how she is so glad Pete and I don't treat each other the way "cool" mom and her husband do!
HILARIOUS!!! (In a sad, sad, way, of course)
Ah, one more to chalk up to the lessons Mom never had to give her--yesterday, when Kelsey mentioned the new-to-us van upgrade (from my awesome Sienna to a postitively ginormous land-yacht 15-passenger Ford maxi-van) in conversation, "cool" mom did something a bit out of "cool" character--she "went off" about how crazy it is that a dual-income family like theirs can be struggling like they are with just three kids but a "HUGE" family with only one income can somehow manage to not just do fine, but thrive. Kelsey actually picked up on the fact that "cool" mom was bringing in a huge bag from their night-before shopping trip, feeding the kids a ton of prepackaged convenience foods, ordering take-out, and plunking the 5-year-old down in front of the X-Box and his new game so she could have a moment's peace while she was ranting about how bad off they were financially. Good catch, Kelsey!
Really, folks, big families are not all that awful. Sometimes, the peace of closeness is obvious to anyone who dares to look past the "noise" of kids playing together; putting things and material gain second to what makes life worthwhile exemplifies that contentment that Paul referred to as "great gain". I am SO GLAD that my kids are finally picking up on that!