It's a funny thing. Order without kids is not the same as order with kids. I know this sounds ridiculously simple and obvious, but it's something I have to keep reminding myself. And I've realized something else, too: the idealized vision of a "home" that I have in my head -- which isn't really a vision so much as a collage of images and feelings that combine to form a whole impression -- is merely a snapshot. It's like the glimpse you get when you walk past a window and glance out: nothing stirs, and nothing changes. If someone asked you after that glance to tell him what it was like outside, you'd have to go back and take a longer look before you could answer accurately. If you tried to describe what was outside from just a passing glance, you'd end up with a static and idealized landscape with no more life than a Grecian urn.
Would it have order? Absolutely. Would it be true to life? Not in the least.
When we talk about a piece of writing -- a poem, a novel, even an essay -- and discuss its order, the best works of literature always have an order to them which is organic to the work, not imposed from outside. A Shakespearean sonnet could not be any other kind of poem than a sonnet -- the ordering principle, the structure, is integral and essential to the work and its meaning. But, even farther than this, a Shakespearean sonnet could not be other than a Shakespearean sonnet: it has a totally different quality than a Donne sonnet, or a Petrarchan sonnet, or a Milton sonnet.
It is the same with life, I think. Each family has an order that is all its own -- one that is totally unique, growing out of the intertwined personalities, loves, and beliefs of the individuals within the family. And as it grows, it becomes something by which you can identify a family, a charism, if you will. So why do I so often measure my family's "order" by some snapshot impression? I should instead seek out our unique family charism and fortify the principles which form its foundation. Our family's order will not be like anyone else's.
Okay....so now I need to discover just what that order is.... :)