I smell like Palmolive dish soap. I think I might smell like Palmolive dish soap for the rest of my life. I hate that smell but if there was going to be some redeeming it today would be that redemption. Today, it is the smell of happiness, and sunlight, and not trying too hard. Today it’s the smell of joy.
I like hosting but I don’t do it because my house is never is clean as I want it to be. And I can’t usually let go of my impossible expectations. Also, I don’t really like noise. A cruel irony for a boisterous mother of five boisterous children. But it just felt right to offer to host Father’s Day this year. My own husband was gone on business and sometimes it’s easier to manage children on your own turf.
No more had I offered than my brother called me with his plan to construct a “slip and slide” in my backyard for the kids. If my brother ever calls you and offers to construct a slip and slide in your back yard, say yes! It was a like watching a one man band as he showed up, carefully dug a hole and made a pool by flipping sod, then stretched out rolls of plastic which his staked down with biodegradable steaks but not until he first lined the whole thing will pool noodles so we didn’t loose all the water of the side. Oh! And he brought a pump to circulate the water.
Then came the Palmolive dish soap and we were off and sliding. Well, I was off and falling. I decided to try to get a little more momentum by running onto the water slide before jumping. Classic banana peel. My head still hurts. The next think I know all the other adults are raiding my closets for extra clothes and were enjoying it as much as the little people. My dad and mom set on the steps laughing and watching us all afternoon. We refueled with deviled eggs, sun tea and strawberry lemonade.
I tromped into the kitchen to refill glasses, dripping with cold, hose-water and dish soap. My house wasn’t clean and I smiled. Not ready for a tea party or really much of any party. But it was perfect for living in. For having an adventure in. For making messes in. The appeal of my “Simple Living” magazine party was blotted out in floor puddles of laughter and empty egg shells on paper plate.
There was one other very important moment today. Recently, I had talked to a dear woman. She earnestly desires to honor God and is diligent in her endeavors. However our faiths depart at the point of Christ. Through conversation it was clear to me that she felt that to praise Jesus, irregardless of believing He was the Son of God, she was taking from the rightful praise of the Father.
Today, looking up the hill at my own father, I saw again so clearly the truth I worked to communicate that night… The praise of the Son, is the praise of the Father. The joy of the Son is the joy of the Father. My dad wasn’t sliding down that slide today but he might as well have been. His joy was so complete in that moment. He was so proud of what was made, so pleased with what was happening, so fed on the blessings of that moment…
It is strange how it happens. I see it with my own children. There are few things that make me feel as loved and appreciated as loving and appreciating my children. There are few things that make me feel as accomplished and hearing someone compliment my child. They are not my identity. They are not my project. They are not my grading scale. But they are my children and I am bound to them in a truly unique and mysterious way.
Today, I was reminded, to love the Son, is to love the Father. To seek the Father, it to find the Son. To know the one, is to know the other.
“Hear, O Isreal, the LORD your God is ONE.”
Peace and grace and laughter to you today. Even if it makes you smell like Palmolive Dish Soap for the rest of your life.
p.s. My brother totally put my yard back together before going home. I’m telling you… a one man band.