Barn-Raising Birthday

This post is a few weeks late, but I still think it’s important enough to share, so here goes!


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Last weekend, we celebrated John’s birthday. We also painted three rooms in the house that, come August, will be our home.


I cook a kind of feast for John’s birthday every year, but this one was extra special because I cooked for a dozen, most of whom had been working hard all day long. We had a wonderful, productive, and wonderfully productive day, and dinner was as much a celebration of John as of the community of family and friends we had working together. It felt kind of old-fashioned, and I loved it.


I’m learning more and more that asking for help is a skill, and one that can take a lifetime to learn. We’re trying to teach Jacob what he can do on his own and what he needs help with. He’s two, so of course he likes to do things himself, whether it’s climbing something at the playground, going to see Henry after a nap, or swaddling his big blue stuffed dog.


As we move into the next stages of family life, I’m seeing how important it is for me to ask for help at the right times, too. When do we need someone to help us with the kids so we can get something else done? When do we need a babysitter for a date night or a wedding? How do we need help preparing for our move? How can we incorporate other people into our family life, while maintaining our burgeoning identity as a family? My family is my responsibility, but I don’t have to do everything myself, either.


I know we can’t teach our kids everything. They’re likely to have interests that we don’t know much about. By the time they’re old enough to realize it, I want them to have a seemingly ready-made community of people they can turn to as resources for personal, professional, and spiritual development. Our family and their godparents are a mighty good start.


This weekend, we also saw new and old friends at our home parish, and made plans to get together once we’re settled back into New Jersey. What a blessing it is to have a social structure we trust built into our new life there.


There’s a lot of talk about how too much technology keeps us from really interacting with each other. This weekend, we saw the reverse. Pale sea mist! Moccasin! Haystack! With the help of these beautiful colors, we are seeing the fabric of our family life take shape, and with God’s blessing, what a glorious thing it is.

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