Complements and Waiting

It seems to me that a more adequate metaphor for children is not cute little naked cherubim, nor wide eyed bundles of innocence; but rather an empty bowl. Yes, a child is a large empty bowl. An empty bowl placed down stream, filling up with whatever refuse might be floating by. While a parent’s appointment, is to forcibly stuff those bowls with good things. Fill them to over flowing at a breakneck speed in order to fill them first, and push out the garbage that always seems to settle at the bottom.

And at times, Wife and I find ourselves able to stop our mad rush for just a moment to listen to a total stranger complement their good behavior. We were at a restaurant, when a lady commented, “You wouldn’t even know that there were eight children in here.”

At this point, if you do not wish to read of my children’s good behavior, I urge you to calmly, but sincerely, turn off you internet now.

To start, we had suffered a long drive to the graveyard. Be assured, everyone is alive and kicking; and kick they do. The burial was for an old family friend. Wife, I, and the children piled out of the van into the heat of an early summer. Our girls were in their Sunday’s best, complete with hair done up and little sweaters, which as it turned out were too hot to wear. The boys’ attire was topped off with vests and ties, and they could have fit in at a mafia reunion.

The service was delayed by an inept funeral home. The children had a slight panic when they thought we had run out of bottles of water. #7 and #8 had just gotten over the flu, and were getting fussier and fussier as the day got hotter and hotter. We had to wait for the gravedigger to widen the hole so the ashes could be buried. And finally, I got lost on the drive to the wake.

And the day got hotter and hotter.

And the day got hotter and hotter.

A lunch that should have started at about two-o-clock was instead started at a little after four-o-clock. And the savages were hungry. When the spaghetti hit the table, the children set to it with a passion.  The complement stated above was given some time after that.

What’s our secret for well behaved children? I could give a litany of how to raise, discipline, and nurture children. However in this case, I assert that they were just starved down.Food at Last

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