It was a busy, crazy day and there absolutely wasn’t time for this, but the doorbell was ringing and this appointment had been my idea and it was too late to back down now.
On the front porch stood a smiling woman from church, holding her adorable baby on her hip.
She was here because we were teaching a church group how to make Christmas ornaments, and neither of us being the crafty type, we wanted to do a dry-run and make sure we knew what we were doing first.
I’d known today was going to be hectic, but I threw dinner in a crockpot and hoped it would work squeezing this in between gymnastics and the half-hour drive to violin lessons.
I invited her in to what can only be described as the eye of the storm: my older kids were getting home from school, scattering their backpacks everywhere and making a mess of the kitchen as they raided it for snacks.
My 13-year-old was pounding on the piano just a few feet away. My 11-year-old kept coming in to ask for my input on a school project. The two littlest were fighting over some random vacuum attachments in the middle of the hallway.
I hadn’t even had time to clean up the house, having just gotten home a few minutes ago myself.
While we got out our craft materials and started Mod Podging, her baby sat beside us quietly gumming a Little People farm animal, a perfect contrast to the chaos of my family swirling around us.
I couldn’t stop thinking about how horrified this woman must be. My kids were like a rowdy, drunken biker gang compared to her baby, who she assured me was just as serene at home as she was right now.
I was sure she was one step away from excusing herself to go out to her car to breathe into a paper bag.
It was about when my anxiety was reaching peak velocity that she randomly said, “I love how it feels like a family around here.”
Uh, excuse me?
She continued, “There’s so much activity and beautiful music and your dinner cooking smells so good…”
It took a few moments for me to understand she was actually talking about my house.
And do you know what? She was right. A moment before I’d only seen noise and chaos, but when I looked again I saw something else. The house felt (and sounded) full of life, and if I’m honest with you that’s actually one of my favorite things about having a big family.
So you never know: the next time you feel self-consciousbecause you’re trying to have an adult conversation amid kids who are happy-screaming and dive bombing off the couch and asking you for a million things at once, other people might not see the chaos quite the way you do.
They might just see a happy family.