I sat on the couch yesterday evening, gazing at my newborn as he slept. My husband and one year old son were also asleep. I could have been on Facebook, or writing a blog post, or completing the application for Middle School accreditation that I need to have done by the end of the week. I could have been organizing the babies’ clothes, which need it desperately, or catching up on some things waiting to be sewn. I could have been sleeping myself – needless to say, between our year old son and our month old son, I’ve been a little sleep deprived recently. But I wasn’t doing any of those things. I was just sitting there on the couch, soaking in little Paul’s cuteness, listening to him breathing.
Our life right now has been full of sound and busyness: cries and screams, gurgles and laughs, newborn coos and toddler baby-talk… the sound of legos, and the repetition of “The Wheels on the Bus…” and other children’s songs on a CD that never ceases to delight Charbel… doors opening and closing, people coming and going, telephones ringing… the clanging of dishes and humming of the washing machine. Then there’s the diaper changing, consoling, teaching, playing, cleaning up, and everything else that goes with parenting. Add to that taking care of the house, running errands, working for the school, and trying to keep ourselves put together, and my husband and I have our hands full.
The past month of our life, since our second son joined us, has been marked with joy and beauty, but also accompanied by challenges and difficulties. Sometimes spending the day caring for our two boys, going from one to the other to cuddle and console, play and teach seems wonderful – other times, it seems like we barely make it through the day and just go from one whine to another.
As I sat there, enjoying some moments of rare silence, I realized that the challenge my husband and I now face is that of making music. We are given what we need: notes of different pitch, tone and duration, and occasional rests – or treasured moments of silence. These can be thrown together and allowed to clash or can be combined harmoniously. We can listen to beautiful music produced by our life, or struggle through a day of cacophony, and miss the symphony we could produce with the same “notes” – the circumstances God sends us each day. We choose whether to see changing another diaper as a chore, or as another moment to love our children. When our one-year-old expresses his newfound willfulness, sometimes to the detriment of our plans, our things, or our emotions, we choose whether to be annoyed or to use it as a moment to teach him, persistently but kindly. In every moment, with every choice life presents us, we choose how to react, and teach our children how to react. We determine whether each moment is just another second passing by, or a new moment to love – to love our husbands, to love our children, to love others, and to love our God.
As we continue learning how to be a good parents and spouses – lessons that I think will continue a lifetime, I’m sure we can’t avoid occasional clashing notes, but I pray that God helps us turn the life he has given us into a piece of music that resounds with love and joy, faith, hope and fulfillment.