I love this tribe of mine. I am so happy, like jump up and click your heels happy, that God has blessed me with this husband and these three boys. We are not a perfect family by any means. Far from it. But we belong to each other, and today, in my overwhelmedness, I am loving them. Consciously and thankfully and prayerfully.

So, chicken soup is simmering on the stove, laundry is whirling away in the machine downstairs, and muffins are on the way. The laundry and the cookies and such are one of the ways I love them, but, really, that’s the easy stuff.

Today, I’m loving my family by really listening when my husband needs to vent about his job. and by acknowledging how tough it is for him at times. I’m loving him by returning his smile, and visiting with him over that second cup of coffee. I’m valuing him as my husband and the father of my boys. I’m thanking him for his hard work.

Today, I’m loving my boys by asking (telling!) them that they need to help with some house and yard work. On a Saturday. When they would rather be lazy and do what they want. And I’m handing out rakes and garbage bags and putting a list of things to do on the fridge. And I am thanking them ahead of time for their good attitudes, and planning hot chocolate and fresh muffins for them when they tumble back inside, glowing from hard work and fresh air. And I’m already saying yes to the questions I know will come later. The will you play cards with me?, and the will your read to me?, and the can we watch a movie together?. And I’ll bring out the afternoon’s labours of love, fresh and fragrant, or maybe I’ll make popcorn, and we will share the evening together.

Ah, and just when I’m feeling all loving and parental and proud and such, in marches the youngest with his list of accomplishments and his grumbling about the more that there is to do. And I call an I love you to his stiff, retreating back, and I say a prayer as I hear him mutter his way down the stairs to clean the basement.

Not perfect. No. But a family.