This weekend I came back from the marriage seminar that Karl and I presented, to find an absolute mess in the kitchen and two boys still in pajamas. Lovely. The girl was nowhere in sight. She went to hang out with friends on the block instead of hanging out with her brothers that were doing nothing but living in pajamas all day. Can’t blame her for that one.
Last night, I was presented with a box of my favorite chocolates by the oldest. Michael made a big deal of it. I told him he had redeemed himself. The funny thing – he got the chocolates to say that he knows I’m going through a lot physically right now and he can see it’s really rough on me – yet I still do all the mom stuff. He smiled sheepishly that it wasn’t apology for the mess in the kitchen.
To me, it doesn’t really matter. Just the thoughtfulness of getting the chocolates for me. How often does a teenage boy go out of his way to buy expensive chocolates for his mom – when it’s not Valentine’s Day yet or Christmas or birthday or anything like that? I consider myself blessed. I savor every bite of my collection that includes Ferrero Rondnoir, Raffaello and Ferrero Rocher. Sweet!
Watching the Olympics and seeing the athletes struggle and fight for the victory after years of training is not unlike parenting. For years my husband and I have struggled with, trained and even argued with our boys about understanding their little sister’s personality. She is who she is. She happens to register off the charts from “Fun Country.” Her main motivations in life are to be enjoying it with wild abandon and making sure that everyone else is also having fun, because who wants to have fun alone? We are grateful for the Kids’ Flag Page system for giving us a clearer picture of our daughter’s personality contrasted with her brothers’ more methodical and logical personalities. Last night, we won the gold medal!
The problem with people from fun country is they can leave a mess. Of course you have to get messy if you are really and truly having fun, right? Of course Greta never sees the messes she leaves behind. Anything left is nothing more than the evidence of great amounts of fun. The boys, however, love being her judges. “Quick! Look! Greta is about to make a mess. She should be disqualified from this heat because she left toys in the living room (we are still working on that with Greta). But last night, something amazing happened. Greta requested cups to do some color experiments with. Yes, all the red flags stood up and did the stadium wave to get my attention, but the former home schooling mom in me wanted to encourage her own style of learning. Matthew, only a year older but obviously so much wiser, was quick to grab the bottles of food coloring away from her and scream out a last desperate warning to his parents in the other room. “Greta is going to make a mess!”
“She’s having fun!” My husband and I couldn’t speak. We just stared at each other, wondering who could pick up their jaw and regain their composure first. Had Michael, our oldest, really said that? Was all this trying to help Greta understand her brothers and the boys to understand their sister finally getting through? Had all of those discussions about The Flag Page finally paid off? No podiums to stand on or flags coming down with music playing as we received medals and honors, but we knew in our hearts we had won! Perhaps there is hope that these three will someday be friends when they are adults.
I wonder what would happen if we all tried to understand each others’ personalities? Even if Peace Country seems to never be in the limelight, where would we be without their faithful and steady contributions? If Perfect Country never got involved, we would never get it right. We would get absolutely nowhere if it weren’t for Control Country keeping the pace and urging us on. And Fun Country? It would all be work and meaningless without this special group of people that remind us to have fun and make sure everyone gets involved, no one left out. Who knows? Maybe when you try to be a little more understanding of your boss and coworkers, you’ll also win the gold medal!