When you have a large family people often ask how do you do it, but the truth is, it just becomes the only way you know. You get used to the chaos and noise and bickering. The undertaking of mobilizing troops, just to run to the post office is…normal. So what happens when the madness gets spread out? It gets WEIRD!
Yesterday Dad decided he wanted to take a trip and watch a good old fashioned county basketball tournament back home (home being where we used to live). This meant a trip to Grandma’s as well because you can’t go home without going to Grandma’s, because Grandma will not have it. So the big question, which two kids are you taking with you? When you are the father of four you learn quickly that someone is ALWAYS going with you (said Mom sweetly). Historically Dad’s decision has been based off of who is currently well, in the best mood and can help themselves in the bathroom. I get it, probably a common dad required list. Luckily all of the kids are FINALLY potty trained so this time he simply had to ini mini mighty moe. The youngest two were the lucky winners.
Overnight bags were packed. Kisses and hugs were exchanged. Three of the six got into the car and we all waved goodbye. Then there were three. We stared at each other uncomfortably for a few moments because it felt very odd. No one had to fight for my attention because with only two they were patient enough to wait their turn. The normal piggy backing of questions that the four usually like to rapid fire throw at me was half that of normal which actually left me time to think about my responses. We realized quickly that we were up to date and scattered to our own projects.
The whole day the house was eerily quiet. The kids entertained themselves and I actually got some things accomplished. The constant barrage of “Mommy can you…” and “Mommy can I…” was non existent. I guess the older two CAN be self contained and when the two babies aren’t here they actually practice it. One thing that you should know is that I had a large family for a reason. I love lots of people around and I thrive when I am busy. It keeps my head calm. So by 5 o’clock I was bored out of my mind. I declared that we were going out for supper!
Ahhh dinner out. Only instead of it being like a herd at a trough it would be like normal families eat. We would dine at a square table with four chairs instead of being crammed into the over-sized booth or back in the corner with multiple tables pulled together. That’s right. No one would be staring or shaking their head at my rowdy bunch. I was going to eat a nice meal without constantly having to cut this or stir that. I wouldn’t have to repeatedly demand that someone get out of the floor or make revolving trips to the restroom because with TWO??? WE WOULD BE NORMAL!!!!
We entered our favorite Mexican establishment and it was everything I had pictured. We walked in without disrupting any fellow diners. No one ran into any servers carrying large trays. No one tripped and did a baseball slide across the restaurant while others looked in horror as I kept walking because I didn’t see any blood. We actually reviewed menus and ordered in clear, uninterrupted sentences. The food arrived and we leisurely ate. I even chewed every bite. We enjoyed riveting conversations about little girls’ side ponies and how many pigs you can kill with just one blue Angry Bird. Even with all of this, it was just not the same.
We found that something was missing. There was no one asking if he could have something off of every one’s plate. There was no baby running around the table trying to encourage others to play a game of duck-duck-goose with him as they ate. We missed Dad rubbing his head and making excuses to strangers as to why our children are wild things. You see we are a team and that is how we operate. Dad and I tag team to keep this pack in check and without half of the pack, we were lost.
Later that night the kids were settled into bed and I was settled in with the dvr when I received a FaceTime call from my youngest. He was crying and asked if he could just come home because he missed me. Dad was trying but sometimes there is just nothing like a mommy. It broke my heart. P Leni and I made silly faces and talked to him until he felt better and I reassured him that he would be home tomorrow and I would squeeze him hard. Then I realized that the other three had experienced the same feelings that we had here. We are a team. Sure a loud, rowdy often borderline uncivilized group but that is how we function. I always tell my kids that one day they will be grateful for growing up with so many siblings. Your siblings are the people who will know you the longest and stand by you through anything. No matter how annoying it may be for them now, I can see the love that they have for one another and for a mother, there is no greater gift.
I will take a table for six please. Why sure we can squish into the oversized booth. Their elbows are small 🙂