Blogging challenges me. It challenges me because it is so easy to drift into fake.

Blogging is a part of me. It’s words on a page, with maybe a picture or two. But it isn’t all of me and it isn’t all of my family. I can choose the words and the pictures, and I can spell check and edit and take out the photos that make me look fat. And then I can present, all neat and tidy, a little package of five hundred words or so about my men and me.

Don’t get me wrong. I love blogging and I try very hard to blog honestly and transparently. I pray about it, even. I’m just saying that it is a challenge.

Part of the challenge is that my family is not perfect. Imagine that.

Yes, in this fantasy of mine, the mother plans her meals ahead of time and serves them, hot and nutritious, to a family that is appreciative. Mmmm, could I have some more of that bean curd casserole, please. And the children are polite and respectful of each other. And they share willingly with each other. And when Christmas approaches, the compassionate little souls come and ask their parents if they could forego presents this year and instead donate money to the homeless. And then, because that was so much fun, they decide to do the same on their birthdays. And they homeschool with joy, perhaps even doing two lessons of math a day so that they can finish early in the year in order to spend a few months in the mission field. And the parents encourage and support and affirm the children and, oh my, it is a thing to behold.

The reality, though, is somewhat different. While bits and pieces of fantasy family surface now and then, reality family is, well, more real.

The reality is that in my family, Mom struggles with her impatience and she forgets appointments and she starts things that she doesn’t always finish. And she gets tired and doesn’t always get the dishes done at the end of the day. And sometimes, well, lets just say Chef Ichiban has provided a meal more than once. And Dad, bless his heart, gets tired, too. And he struggles to work and provide and fix broken things and still have a little fun once in a while.

And the children, amazing as they are, are not perfect either. They don’t always choose good behaviour over bad. They forget to use their manners and they sometimes say inappropriate things in public. Like, asking (loudly) if the person waiting on us is a man or a woman, ’cause it’s really hard to tell, Mom. And sometimes they argue, and they bug each other when we are traveling until the parents say things like, if I have to stop this car you are going to be sorry, and they shove things into their closets when they are supposed to clean their rooms, and they really like getting presents at Christmas and on their birthdays.

Yes, we are real and messy and broken and grubby, my men and me. I think that maybe God planned it that way. So that, in our family, we could all practice living our lives in the real world. Because it is a little broken out there, too.