Sunday, April 20, 2014

The sound and the fury

We spent most of this week with family, childless family who lead quiet lives of order and routine. They were happy for us to come. We're the ones who moved away. We're missed.

We burst on each scene. There's no gentle entry when three noteverstill children clamor into your living room. The crayons spill and roll everywhere. The card game becomes 52-pickup. Something sticky needs to be wiped quickly, but turn around and they're dancing, they're cartwheeling, why is your furniture being rearranged?

We're way more dishes and that's the wrong juice and but I want to sit over there at the same time as I want my plate here at the same time as but this doesn't look like meat I like. We're extra laundry because there aren't enough towels and "that's okay, we'll clean it up" and "be careful" "watch out" "no, don't!" because kids aren't used to all these breakables or to skim milk or to so much wonder at their everyday energies.

We're spectacle and circus act and we should pass around ear plugs. We're decibals. We should send a warning label ten feet ahead of us through every door. Don protective earwear. Extreme noise ahead.

But the week came to an end. We packed up all our things, the crayons and the juice boxes and the boisterousness. We tried to push the furniture back and wipe up all the messes. We tried to restore order but a place isn't ever quite the same after we've been through it.

We walked out the door and we watched our relatives' faces and all that quiet just looked lonely.

This post was inspired by our spring break, the annual northbound minivan roadtrip; and by the memoir Dad Is Fat by comedian Jim Gaffigan, who riffs on his adventures co-parenting five kids in a two-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Join From Left to Write on April 22 we discuss Dad Is Fat. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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