It’s oddly quiet in here. Where is the sound of crying? The blood-curdling screams of my two year old – being deprived of the one Matchbox car that he must have? LEGO’s being thrown down the stairs? Skateboard tricks being done in the attic (a space that our vertically challenged 8 year old can barely stand upright in).
The silence is unusual because we are the parents of, you got it - seven boys and a girl. Understand, I wouldn’t trade them for the world – a really good hot fudge sundae maybe, but generally, I can’t imagine life without them anymore. Not that I don’t try to from time to time, though.
Kids are amazing. When they are asleep next to you, warm, soft and silent, you can’t imagine how you could possibly have so much love for one little person. Then, they wake up, or grow up. The love is still there, but it’s a little harder to get to when you are in the midst of explaining why it’s not financially possible to meet every one of your child’s material demands. After all, little Johnny’s parents are sending him to baseball camp, buying him a new Ipod and taking him to Europe. Johnny’s dad also coaches the baseball team and takes the family out to dinner at least twice a week. Why can’t we just have another $20 to go to the movies, or buy another cell phone? Maybe I’m totally out of touch with the realities of today, but the expectations of a parent do seem to have changed. Simply providing guidance, love, food, shelter and clothing are the very least one can do. A father isn’t truly successful until he’s provided summer vacations, $200 skateboards and the latest and greatest from Nintendo for his growing brood. What are these kids expected to do when they are supposed to be asleep? If there’s no new video game to play, there’s precious little that can occupy the hours from 9:00 pm until they collapse from sheer exhaustion at an unspecified early morning hour.
But, I digress. Here I am with two more peaceful hours ahead of me. Nothing that I have to do, no one asking me for anything, just peace and quiet. It’s now that the panic sets in - I have no idea what to do with it! There are so many things that I could do, and yet it’s impossible to choose just one – listen to music? Watch a movie? Take a nap? Paint the kitchen? After mulling this problem over and wandering aimlessly around the house I finally decide on the book. Just as I crack the cover, I hear that familiar sound… the door. They’re back! Can’t those kids even let me have a minute to read a book?!!?!?