Saturday, January 9, 2010

Contemplates Differences (More than one way to skin a cat.)

If you've read any of my previous blogs you know just how different my parents are. My mom is a classy lady who is put together and organized. My daddy…not so much. Occasionally, mom would leave my sister and me in the care, custody, and control of our father. Now when daddy disciplined, he disciplined from his choleric side which was big enough to make a lasting impression if you know what I mean. Other than that, he is completely sanguine. Lori and I would often complain to him that the way he was doing things was all wrong. Why? Because he wasn't doing it mom's way which was after all the only way. Mom never procrastinated. Daddy could wing almost anything. Mom had a calm appearance but was most likely paddling like crazy beneath the surface. Daddy would be swimming in figure eights just because it was fun and because he got someone to follow him. Mom was steady as you go, and daddy seemed to burst forth at the most unexpected times with spontaneity. And Lori and I thought all of this was normal…actually, we just thought mom was normal. Mom had her coupons and paperwork neat, tidy and in alphabetical order. Daddy had mounds of paper on his desk, but if you asked him for something, most of the time he could find it.

Variety is the spice of life, isn't it? Normally, I quite enjoy variety and spontaneity…until it comes to my house, my kids, my life, etc. My husband is very laid back and is the youngest sibling. I am very choleric that has mellowed a lot over the years and have had some of the edges knocked off. I am also the oldest of two. Over the past year, God has been teaching me to accept our differences, to keep my mouth shut, to be appreciative of things when Patrick does something, and to allow the differences is exist in our home. It has not been pretty. It has not been fun for me, but I know it's what I need to do in order to grow. After all, as my daddy says, "There is more than one way to skin a cat." (That's really rather gross, isn't it?) I am by no means to the point of just accepting things and rolling with it, but I have come a long way especially since we were first married.

When Patrick and I were first married I was extremely type A. All of my bowls were stacked neatly as well as the lids. My pantry was organized to where I could take a quick glance to see if I was low in some vegetable by looking in its spot. My underwear was perfectly folded and neatly placed in the drawer. I had no dust bunnies. This drove my poor husband INSANE! So, he did his best to drive me crazy. The Tupperware bowls that were above the sink were completely out of sequence and thrown into the cabinet and since I was the next one to open the door, I ended up wearing them on my head! There are still differences, but my mom has assured me that most couples meet somewhere in the middle after being married for a certain period of time. (I can't wait for the period of time, by the way!)

God has created us all differently. We have different talents, gifts, strengths, and abilities. To expect our spouses, friends or children to do things like we do is not necessarily realistic, but sometimes it's the hardest to accept differences within our own family. It's easy for me to accept the difference someone might have at work or at church. I can be quite accepting of the different temperaments and gifts, but for some reason, I expect my children to fall in line. How absurd is that? My children while adopted are so similar to Patrick and I it's not even funny, but regardless of how similar they are, they are still different. I want to be more accepting of their differences this year. I want to parent them in their differences, praise them for their individual strengths, and encourage their creativity and gifts which means I have to loosen the reigns in an area or two. To find what works for one child is a challenge because when I figure it out the child moves on to a different stage. To discover and to stay on track for two children is tiring and difficult, but this is what I want to do. Because in order for my children to accept differences in others they need to feel accepted for their differences in our home.

We serve a creative God, an ingenious God. We also serve a God who has a sense of humor.

Thank you, Lord, for not making a vanilla world with all vanilla people! Help me to enjoy the spice of life that lives in my own home this year.

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