Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Whirlwind of Hooligans (Part I)

Our children were lengthening their bones and leaving us at an alarming rate.  They were pursuing relationships and bachelor's degrees, they were buying cars and marrying.  They were raising families.  Our number had shrunk from eight to five.  I found myself crying over our lack of sippy cups in the cabinet and Matchbox cars wedged under the couch. Our vacuum cleaner never smoked from sucking up Polly Pockets and no Barbie hair clogged the bathroom drain.  Our youngest child was almost twelve, and no longer needed his hot dogs sliced down the middle, and our oldest spent most evenings sequestered in her room.   

Our house had become quiet, and to a mother used to hustle and flurry, the quiet was nearly unendurable.  How many times did I search the heavens for free-falling babies?  How much did I fuss and coo over babies in stores?  How many knowing smiles did I bestow on frazzled strangers at Walmart, frazzled female strangers with toddlers spilling from their grocery carts?  The answer:  too many and too much to be considered sane or, at the very least, polite.

Guilty.  Me.

When the phone rang one early August evening and the flat, angry tone in our daughter's voice came through the wires from far, far away, I reached back through them with comfort.  "Come to us," I told her.  "Pack up your three babies and your husband and make your home here until you figure things out."  I was dizzy with excitement; our home would be full of babies again.  We would grow to ten; and we would make it work.  Concerns, stifled, went unspoken. 

Convincing the current oldest child was a different story--she had only just last year made her way into the Circle of Trust and Favor.  As Number Four, she had arrived at oldest and was loathe to relinquish the title.  Plus, as we considered the logistics, we did not anticipate the living situation with great hope.  While we longed to squeeze our long lost and dearest loves, reality and experience dictate that the honeymoon wears off in time and that grown children really shouldn't move back home.  But there was a need, and it was our job to meet it.

We have been pleasantly surprised.