I don’t know if you remember any of the times Pops had to go out of town (and usually out of state) for trainings/schooling/job-related business, but every time he did, things would get crazy. I’m sure part of that is because the number of us children vs. one Mumsie was probably completely insane for any one person, and the other part is the Law of Things Going Awry When the Man Is Unavailable to Fix Things. Never fail, major appliances would break (can you imagine a week without a washer in the home with all of us kids? Did Hometown even have a laundromat?); we children would turn exceptionally unruly; and always, ALWAYS, the sliding glass door would get off its track the very day he would leave, thus hampering the ability to quickly shoo us kids out the back door when visitors dropped by or when Mumsie needed a single moment to herself. I don’t think she ever did get more than a single moment to herself at any one time, which, for us, is probably a good thing. I imagine myself in her shoes and knowing what we children heaped upon her and I see myself taking the soonest moment to slip away and run for the hills! Our saintly parents. I don’t know what we did to deserve them.
Gordon had an event in Texas and was going to be gone for five days. Based on childhood experience, I half expected the End of the World. I am also not very saintly, and knew that any Heavenly Brownie Points I’d scored in my lifetime could be wiped out by any one Incident. I steeled myself, bought extra chocolate (and also bribes for the children. Desperate times, desperate measures and all), and assured Gordon it was no big deal and that I hoped he had a great time.
We all survived! I was surprised it went so well and there were even fun times! A few good/bad/fun/ridiculous things that occurred while Gordon was gone:
- Lucy figured out how to use the water dispenser in the fridge door. This is a terrible development. I walked in to see her simultaneously squeal, jump, and throw her newly-filled cup over her head and head back to refill the cup. Things have not improved, as I continue to find pools of water in the middle of the kitchen floor (and various and sundry places throughout the house).
- Lucy also moves chairs to get whatever she wants/needs. She scales shelves. Nothing is safe. This explains the artwork on the walls appearing while I’m in the shower.
- The girls got a bouncy ball stuck in the toaster. Kyle tried to get it out (and eventually did! Bless him!), and now the handle won’t stay down. No Charlie Brown Thanksgiving for us!
- We made chocolate marshmallow mountain cookies. They didn’t really stand out to me taste-wise, but the kids LOVED them and they were helpful in “encouraging” the children to get their chores done, etc. And for some reason, I kept finding myself eating them. Weirdly addicting.
- One of the nights, I heard Lucy crying. It was loud, so I thought she must be in my room, but I was pretty out of it. I woke up and thought it was weird that she’d stopped crying without having me put her back in her bed or having me offer any half-asleep attempts at soothing her at all. I got up to check on her, and she wasn’t on the little mat we have by our bed for such occasions. I went downstairs to her room, and she wasn’t there. I went back upstairs and checked the boys room, and she wasn’t there either. Huh. I went to my room and turned on the flashlight on my phone. She wasn’t in my bed. I went back in the boys room and checked each of their beds, under their beds, and the corners of the room. Nope. I checked by the tv in the loft area and under all the beanbags and blankets. I went to her room and yanked all the blankets off her bed and checked her closet and Vanessa’s bed. I checked the doors and windows on the main floor and then headed for the basement, where one of the lights was on. It would not be the weirdest thing to find her in the old baby swing or riding the scoot train around and around. Nope, somebody must’ve just left the light on. I was trying not to freak out and wondered if I should wake up the children and enlist their help. I checked the couches, the kitchen, under the table, the other staircase, the bathtubs, the washer, and anywhere else I could think of. I decided to look under my bed and ended up on Gordon’s side. I found Lucy curled up on top of the pile of books he has next to his bed. The children can’t figure out why my hair is turning gray.
- Vanessa cried that I was getting so old and she was so sad that I would be dying soon!
- Paul was walking around with his school-issued iPad on his shoulder like a boombox. He was listening to Kenny G. and “just [couldn’t] turn it off.”
Oh, these children. I think I’ve got permanent eye-twitch.
PS Are you and Abe participating in #LIGHTtheWORLD? We are going to do it as a family. A tradition we have is a countdown to Christmas of some sort. We’ve added cotton balls to Santa’s beard, had paper chains with activities, read the Christmas story from the Bible in bits every night in candlelight, etc. This is the perfect countdown! Our neighbors are going to join us for feeding the homeless one of the days. I’m so excited about this project! Lots of ideas and little things that go a long way.