Sunday, April 12, 2015

And Chaos Ensued

Sometimes I look around my house and wonder just how on earth I got to where I am and how things got so……berserk.

Let me give you a little background: I was a bit uptight when I was young. Maybe even more than a bit. Perhaps most would even say I was wound tighter than an eight-day clock.  Running a home daycare for most of my adult life and then having children of my own chilled me out in a big way. I know for some high strung folks, the absolute chaos of having small children around is enough to send them over the edge, but not me. I completely embraced the wonder of early childhood and the messiness of the whole shebang. Dirt and noise, crumbs and smudges, sticky fingers and the question “Why?” were a part of my life and I adored it. My husband, however, is more easily perturbed and on more than one occasion when our kids were little he would look at me and say, “How is that not driving you crazy?” I’d look up, blink a few times and ask, “What?” I had this uncanny ability to just simply not hear noises that were just kid noises. I immediately sprang into action when I heard screams, slaps, wails, and thumps that usually meant furniture had been rearranged or someone had decided to test his ability to fly once again, but tapping, humming, off-key singing, incessant banging on toy piano keys, and the sound of Tickle Me Elmo’s hysterical giggles were just tuned out.
It was merely self preservation. Had my ears homed in on every single noise that emitted from those children I’d still be in a straight jacket even though I now have all teenagers.

It would be an understatement to say we have fun at our house. We always have and I hope we always will. And it goes beyond the walls of this house – when you get my mom and sister and the whole gang together we laugh until someone pees, snorts, or wheezes, and no one goes home with all of their mascara and eyeliner on because laughing until we cry is just how we roll.

Sometimes it’s simply all of us girls giggling as we watch Sam sing and dance to a Taylor Swift song while he makes macaroni and cheese. Other times it’s laughing when my husband’s hair get a little long and he brushes it straight up and looks just like Wolverine from the comic book, then puts butter knives between his fingers for “claws”. Regardless, we laugh and do a lot of it.

Most of the time I’m the instigator of the hilarity, the ornery perpetrator of the shenanigans, but other times I just sit back and watch it unfold around me. Like the other night when, in the middle of a family game of Yahtzee! my son jumped up from the table and ran out of the room like his hiney was on fire. When he returned to the table, one by one we noticed he was wearing a full-head unicorn mask. He simply sat down and said not a word, just rested his horsey face on his fist and whinnied. Before I knew it my youngest daughter was wearing a banana suit and the oldest was sporting a 1970’s-style afro wig. My husband was doing his best to belch the alphabet while his costumed children cheered him on. Yahtzee! dice were flying like popcorn. Selfies were snapped and sent to friends. It was a cacophony of noise and socially inappropriate antics.

I leaned back, smiled, and soaked all of it up like a sponge. And someday when my kids are all in their own houses, I’m missing my grandbabies, the house is too quiet, and Paul doesn’t much feel like belching the alphabet for an audience of one, I will pull the memory of that crazy Yahtzee! game out and laugh once again at the chaos that ensued.

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Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...