A Big Plate of Elephant
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
My two oldest chickens are fighting the way brothers and sisters fight.
Last week, we capped off Spring Break with a trip in our trailer, which is roughly one-twelfth the size of our house.
So here I am at the start of Holy Week, not feeling very holy. At one point, after whining “Gabe hit me” over and over, Kate asked why I was ignoring her.
It’s because I had lost the ability to form a sentence without the F-word in it.
I want to believe this is normal behavior, part of growing up, but I have some personal knowledge of brothers and sisters who grew up to not like each other much. I wish I knew the magical words to make them love each other.
“You better love your sister or I am going to make you the sorriest 9 year old in this campground!!!!”—just trust me that these are not the magical words.
So now we’re trying this:
Your job is to make your sister smile.
Not twist her up into a screaming banshee who tries to pull every hair out of your head over a fork.
Your job is to make your brother smile.
Not bribe your little sister to tell him that she doesn’t love him anymore.
Is it working?
If by working you mean I have now said it enough that if I died tomorrow they would put it on my tombstone in all caps and with twelve exclamation points? Then yes.
By any other measure, ish.
But there’s a thing we all have to remember. Building a family is like eating an elephant. It doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t even happen in a year, or a decade. It takes a lifetime, maybe generations. It means that even when we’ve had enough, we have to stay at the table and help.
I hope that right now you are cruising through some yummy, easy piece of your elephant that pairs well with red wine.
But if your piece looks more like mine right now, bony and full of gristle, I want to remind you that you aren’t alone. EVERY FAMILY hits rough patches. ALL PARENTS look over at what’s left of the elephant and wonder how they’ll ever get it done, or why they chose to eat this elephant in the first place.It happens to EVERYONE.
The key is to keep eating.