“Remember what you were saying! I want to hear the rest,” I yelled to Emily, as our ever-revolving door opened. A new load of three arrived, hunched over with backpacks, baseball equipment, and an enormous cello. They kicked of their shoes, scattering dirt clumps across the floor, as Sawyer leapt up into the waiting arms of his big brother.

“Hey look! It’s Barry Allen!” Yelled Wesley, who then leaned in closer to Sawyer, “Or are you the Flash right now?”

The toddler grinned and nodded.

Curie thrust a school permission slip into my hands while Magellan bounded down to the basement to check on the progress of their lego project. Papa trailed last in the door and kissed my cheek.

“Wesley forgot his batting helmet, we’ll have to pick it up from his Mom’s before the game tomorrow.”

I sighed and nodded, “Ok – and John just let me know he’ll be out of town this Wednesday so the boys will be here after all. We should cancel the dinner.”

Upstairs Wendy began crying, awake from her nap, punctuated quickly by Newton on the drum kit.

I turned to Emily, “I’ll be right back!” and dashed upstairs to grab the baby.

Moments later when I returned, Emily was still sitting in the same place, smiling. We exchanged looks. One of my oldest friends, I knew her smiles well along with their many interpretations. This one seemed to say,

“Crazy, crazy life!”

I was the last of our college friends we’d have imagined living such a life.

We rarely enjoyed time together since she moved to China with her family, every minute of her visit counted. As we balanced babies and coffee out back to the deck, she shared an observation.

“When children are exposed to another language early on, it opens up new areas of their brains that would otherwise lie dormant. New synapses are created and begin sparking. That is what I see in your crazy blended-family life. New areas of your brain are being used to make all of this happen and run smoothly. The coordination, the communication, the self-control. These are not passive things, these are the powerful gifts developing in you.”

Her words resonated. Instead of seeing all of the details as difficult and taxing, I could choose to see our sometimes-crazy life as healthy stretching, like mental/emotional exercise or yoga.

As Lori White writes on Upworthy:

Being bilingual exercises your brain and makes it stronger, more complex, and healthier.

The pouring out was actually enabling us to become more, not less. It is such a kingdom principle, because his ways are not our ways, and often the thing that feels it might destroy us is the very tool that shapes us to become richer, stronger versions of ourselves. There are still times I doubt my ability to handle the constant complexity of our life. But He is a good Father, the very best, who only gives good gifts. He must know we have what it takes to steward the gift of this mega-family, with all of it’s relational and logistical spaghetti.

Perspective matters.

Every situation in our lives can be used to transform us for good, I’ve seen it first-hand now so many, many times. Believing that, and leaning in toward the good growth, impacts the process tremendously. So today when faced with another problem to solve in our ever-changing family landscape, from vacation scheduling conflicts to wounded hearts to forgotten gym shoes, I will lean into the creative Problem Solver. I will start from a place of gratitude, believing that I am gaining new synapses, new growth, new strength.

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