We have had games galore of course, being married to Mr Newday! (Newday is a youth event, which the husband helps to lead, inevitably making young people do ridiculous things in order to lose their pride and win a milkshake). We have thrown the wellie, and jumped over the wellie while its been spun around on a rope. We have eaten doughnuts off of string. We've done the classics; the three legged race and the wheel barrow race. We've bounced off each other in blown up zorbs, tipped water on our heads when the music stopped, and had various fun with tissue. Lots of fun! Lots of noise! And lots of people! We do like people, us Dawsons.
And then there was one party which wasn't as party-like as the others. One of our lads took a couple of mates bowling. There was orange squash. His brothers were invited in a 'Please come to my party, but not actually get involved. In fact, please just play Pool in the background' kind of way. It was quiet. We didn't even look at a wellie, let alone jump over one. And there was no water involved.
We realised that as a family, we're quite 'people people'. Some may say a few of us are slight extroverts. But we've come to realise that just because we are from the same family, it does not mean we are from the same mold. This came as quite a surprise to us. We thought it was just how we all were. But then we had a son who didn't find eye contact as easy, and really doesn't need more than two people in his life at any one time.
I think he stands to show just how different we actually all are. Our family has people who are ordered, and others who are not so. People who love the correct answers that maths gives you, and others who are creative and happy for any answer. People who take risks and those that play it slightly safer. People who like jeans and others who like joggers and now of course, ones that wear dresses. People who are savers, and others who are spenders. People who cry more easily and others who might shout. People who have teddies and others who don't see the point. People with wonderful imaginations and others who prefer scientific, structured play. People who like their music loud and will sing along as if they're on the stage. (Actually that's just the husband) and me who hears music as more of a background thing. People who have many words, and those who speak just a few. (I'll leave you to guess which one I am). People who like crazy parties and one who doesn't. We're a mixed bunch under the slightly loud surface of it all.
I love that we are all made in God's image. Not one of us is the odd one out in that. God is beautifully creative and yet mind blowingly scientific. He is ever so ordered, and yet does not get flustered when order isn't present. He made the crashing seas to roar and yet calmly brings His peace. He is all powerful, and to be greatly feared yet He is gentle and kind. He can be extremely serious and yet wonderfully joyful...
The mixed bunch living under this roof, relate differently to each other too. There are the sparring pairs, the strong friendship pairs, the imaginative pairs, and the clashing pairs, to name a few. Some of the kids are easier for me to parent. Some, the husband finds easier. I'm sure some of my lot would prefer to talk things through with me, while others probably don't get me at all. We all need grace for one another.
A bit like the church really... we're all a bit different from each other, and have different views and different ways of doing things. And there are some we get along with more easily. Some, we maybe clash a little with. We're all wonderfully, and sometimes annoyingly unique, but we are all in the same family. And our Heavenly Father, fathers us all the same way, with His perfect love and His gentle forgiveness.
Me and the husband often say, "It's different, not wrong", especially during Marriage Preparation, with other couples. It's quite easy to see our contrasts as wrong, because we don't understand them or like them. But if we are all made in God's image, if we are all in His family, if we have all received the same Grace from Him, then surely it's a good thing to take a moment and see the other person how God sees them. He made them unique for a reason. He made you unique for a reason. And we can usually learn more about His vast character if we see others how He sees them. It helps me too, to parent my mixed bunch better, and to see their unique giftings.
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever." 1 Peter 4v10-11