Saturday, March 1, 2014

Life Eutectics

So today I'd like to talk about eutectics. I'm not much of a chemist, but there was some empirical knowledge I gained from working with ceramics, and one of these concepts-in-practice was called eutectics. You can look up eutectic on wikipedia and be dazzled by charts about it and possibly grasp the theory far better than I can explain it, but I'm going to try to put it in a nutshell anyway. The idea is that you can take two or more materials that generally melt at a temperature too high for you to maintain, but when they are together, these particular substances have a lower melting point than they would separately. There may be good reason for this, but to me this still seems like an easter egg in the universe's programing. Surprise!

This concept in mind, I'm just thinking about life at my house lately. Four days a week my sister brings my best friend's two kids here with her. She's being paid (fairly, but not terribly much) to look after them, and I'm offering a place for them to spread out and do school and play and interact with my own kids (They are living at their grandparents' house, which is partly under construction inside and can be a little limiting for little ones.) They eat here, study, play, bathe, etc. With my own 6 kids we were already kinda nutty. So you might expect chaos.

And yet (apart from cabin fever setting in while we wait for spring. . .) the opposite seems to be the case. It's not easy, but things are more functional than ever at my house. Expecting others most of the week forces me into a routine and to prepare myself and my home. It forces me to simplify my expectations of my day. And yet, at the same time, I usually get more done than I ever had in the past, because Rachel is here to help hold the baby or wash dishes or marshal the kids through cleaning up after themselves etc. I help with Willow and Lilly and she helps with my kids, her nieces and nephews, and there's no real division of child care in that bigger sense (although there are some things she regularly handles and does transport them here). Finally I'm not just being tag teamed by kids, but passing the baton with someone else during the weekdays. I'm able to sort through a bin of clutter that used to sit for a month, to keep up with the laundry, to move things in and out of storage and rearrange furnishings, to run an errand during business hours and so on. Even more exciting to me, I spend more time with my sister and I feel I know her so much better. I'm constantly impressed with how she patiently and loving interacts with the kids, consistently corrects them and keeps her cool in front of them. We talk, and I'm so excited to communicate with another adult in daylight. I'm so glad to be able to help Kalah with her kids and to help Rachel with her sitting job and I know Kalah is excited that her sitter is able to help me.

This is like the perfect storm. I don't know how long it will last, but it's an arrangement I'm so glad for at this time in my life. The eutectic is the three of us coming togetherand finding that somehow the math works out less taxing for each of us. We're still each asking something of each other, but we're each giving too, and there's some hidden secret that's making each of our lives work out together.

Now if I could just find the secret to perpetual motion.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, normally I'd say, "Wow, sounds like a zoo!" But it looks like things are actually better with more.

    I know my kids had a blast at your house this last Christmas. Now if THAT wasn't chaos, I don't know what is! hahahah! But it worked out great, and everyone had a good time. Got to admit, I was nervous about the amount of little ones that were going to be there! hahaha.

    Glad things are working out all around for you all.