Saturday, February 02, 2008

All for One

Nothing in this family is done alone. We’re all a part of everything we do.

Take me going to work. I only work two days per week but the day before my two days begin we’re all getting ready for it. At home without me here the rhythms change and everyone’s chores expand some so everyone is aware of this the day before. I try to make sure that laundry is mostly done, dishes are mostly caught up on, and that there is lots of bread made. Husband has usually come up with a meal plan since that will be up to him.

Before the day to work dawns, the alarm rings and husband gets up to start the coffee and fire. I get up and go milk. I bring the milk back to him at the house and leave again to feed the horse. By the time I get back he has my breakfast done and I settle down to that. He also packs my lunch which is two pints of milk, a soda, a couple pieces of fruit when we have it, a couple cheese sandwiches, and a couple protein bars. I won’t actually eat all of this most days but it gives me a choice and something that I can always manage to swallow. Not eating can be a problem for me and managing to eat enough is a challenge.

When I get back home, things have miraculously gotten done. The equines have been grazed, some dishes done, supper fixed, sometimes even the floor gets swept. Plus all their regular chores. They dance on the porch for me coming home. How great is that. I kiss them all, milk, feed the horse, eat supper, and collapse into bed.

We had another incident recently that demonstrated how we all work together rather seamlessly. Our elder son has been in charge of cutting a lot of the firewood this winter. He’s done a fantastic job and it has been good for him too, but the other day he took a misstep getting a log onto the sawhorse and twisted his knee. Quick action was taken, it was iced, and he was largely ok but he was out of chore commission for several days. He also takes primary care of the chickens. And dogs. So there was a lot of slack to take up. His sisters split his animal chores and his parents took over the wood. My friend Laura used to laugh that our families ran like well oiled machines, especially compared with how most families don’t get along but this really shone a spotlight on it for me.

I suppose it sheds some light on it to know that one of our family mottos is, “All for One, One for All.” And we really mean it.


Madcap said...

I'm seeing this in our family too, more and more as the kids get older. Not with the same complexity as your house, but the principle is at work - we're definitely seeing the return on our "investment" in the kids' young years. They have a sense of responsibility towards our family and how it functions.

CG said...

Ren and I sort of had a discussion about "respect" and, more, what it isn't. It isn't necessarily about showing up on time, or at least, the person we owe the most respect to is not necessarily the one who is giving the lecture but OUR KIDS, our family dynamic, and if showing up late works better for our family, that just might be THE respectful thing to do.

It is like defining what "success" means to you personally rather than just taking the off the rack definition of what it means. In the end, it all begins at home. If the kids cannot treat each other with loving kindness then they aren't going to be able to treat anyone or anything else that way either. Schooling and industrialization and corporatization (profit or NFP) has no room for any loving kindness. Family and community does.

Alecto said...

I think that when we are isolated we don't have a way to contribute and life becomes a bartering system. I find my children most stunning when they step out of that isolation and give or nurture because they recognize being part of something much bigger than the singular wanting, needing person. Hell, I find me most stunning when I step out of it. Also, a beautiful post. Just took me awhile to process.

laura said...

oh man, i can't tell you how this is all playing out for us right now. my kids are getting a big dose of what it's like in other families. brothers and sisters fighting, children HATING their parents. it is very hard for them to watch and they question me about it endlessly and i answer the best i can that some families just don't run the way ours does.

i think they are coming away from this with a better understanding of why we do what we do. and i have renewed confidence that my kids can question the things they don't understand or don't agree with.

and they've learned heaps about respect. and why so many kids just don't seem to have any. they've figured out that most of the time it's because the kids haven't been respected.