and it all happened in the den.
So the other night, we had one of those family nights I was really digging. It all felt good. The offspring were forced to unplug from their various spots and assemble in the den for a 'family movie night.' (We didn't necessarily have a family movie in hand, but it just seemed like time to gather together.) Summer is awesome, with no bed times and no worries about what's due tomorrow; but often it seems that everyone quietly spreads out when night falls. It's fun to have nights with all of us home and hanging out, busying around doing this and that. I'm noticing, though, that everyone being home doesn't necessarily mean that we are all doing the same thing. I miss that.
If you spend days and nights looking at your twelve year old hooked up to earphones plugged into the large screen computer with her mouth hanging somewhat agape as she mouth breathes, you begin to wish for a bit of forced family time. And so we called for that the other night. "Everybody come in the den - we're going to watch a movie." (I even got in the floor with no photographs to edit, showing my adherence to the family time. Of that the kids took notice.) Then we remembered we didn't exactly have a movie.
Luckily, I spent twenty dollars at a 'going out of business sale' in Toccoa, Georgia a few years ago. Luckily, also, the movies that seemed most interesting to me were not the least bit interesting to anyone else in the Toccoa area. And maybe best of all, each of my movie choices was a dollar! In keeping with how things go in this busy world of ours, we've never even glanced at the large stack of movies - but the other night we did.
We settled on Emmanuel's Gift. It's the amazing story of a Emmanuel, born in Ghana to a world that didn't understand him. He was born with a physical disorder which left him without the bottom portion of one leg. Where he is from, folks born 'different' are considered unworthy of anything at all. They are destined to a life on the streets, a life of begging and being shunned from the rest of society. His mother saw it differently. His father left immediately after seeing his son. Emmanuel tells his story, the story of how he set out to show others that he was as 'whole' as anyone else and that his brothers and sisters with similar stories were to be valued. You must see this movie and you must have your children see it. After you watch the movie, you'll find yourself out of excuses for just about anything and everything. It is heart-warming, up-lifting and amazing. See it.
That was the 'best of times' part of the post. It was one of those moments - you know, when you're surrounded by those you love and you have experienced something meaningful together. Ahhhhhhh.
Last night, in that very same square room of preciousness where we cuddled together to watch the story of an amazing human, I decided that Tim and I should participate in the nightly 'Just Dance' on the WII. The kids were excited - they enjoy laughing at us. They loudly discussed which songs we should do. They fought over who would dance with each of us, how they could 'get the most stars' and aided us in the favored way to hold the controller.
I did my first dance. It was lovely, I am sure. I'm happy for those who got to watch the flailing from behind. Tim took his turn and I enjoyed my time to hoot and holler from behind. Then the un-lovely part ensued. The eldest child screamed to the middle child, "Why do you keep choosing those old slow songs for Mama and Daddy?" (I had not been aware of their slowness, and I was dripping sweat.)
And then the real special words came . . . the words that make you know that you've made the right decision to stop and play with the little precious people -
The song-chooser yelled out forcefully, "because we're trying to keep them both from dying of a heart attack! You got a problem with that?"
The best of times. The worst of times. All of it right there in the very same space. I love a varied life.