"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Sunday, March 21, 2010

dance party, USA

The things I say get lost in translation. For some reason when I announce "time for bed", these peeps must hear "party time before bed". Don't know why that is.

I know gals who just love that time of day. The time they get to assist their beloved little ones with teeth brushing and face washing. All gathering to soak in a story by a mom whose voice lovingly lulls tiny tots to sleepy town. A precious moment on bended knee as each delivers a heartfelt prayer. Tucking every munchkin in with a kiss, a song and a quizzical "what was your favorite part of today?"

It stings to know that my experience is oh so much different. I wonder at the thoughts that must rush through my children's minds at the moment those fateful words are uttered -- "It's time for Bed". "Wonder if she meant it?", "I forgot to wrestle today but this is my chance", "Do you think she can catch us?" I've tried all manner of things to enhance the experience and still, the end result is never pretty. And I, the mother, close the door of my room just wondering if the darkness and the threat of fixtures minus light bulbs should they be illuminated once again, is enough to quite the seemingly endless dance party, USA.

One evening last weekend after the madness had finally settled, I took the priceless opportunity to elicit advice from my parents as I was visiting their home. I sat in their living room relaying my dilema, pleading for an answer and insisting that what I most desire is to climb into bed feeling fulfilled and not as the shrew-like Harpy of most nights. As I unfolded my circumstance, I watched their intent faces just knowing that after raising nine children a solution made of liquid gold would pour forth and bless my emptiness.

The moment of silence following my delivery seemed endless .. and then came the laughter. The gut wrenching, wet your pants, wipe your eyes laughter of two people so, so, SO delighted to see a child receive their comeuppance. And holding one another up because walking was just plain painful with such side splitting gaiety, choking and sputtering, they patted my head and headed to the peace and solitude of their own darkened bedroom. As I sat there in stunned silence, I could still hear guffaws behind that closed door as I sat pondering my answer-less solitude.

The next day brought my sisters and with them surplus amounts of boisterous merriment. We laughed till we cried, we retold stories still hilarious only to us, we choked on our own tomfoolery. It was as though our party picked up right were we had left off from our last farewell. That's when the thought occurred to me. I want my people to be like this. I want them to long for one another's company. I want them to love the party that their togetherness brings.

I could suppress them. I could curb their enthusiasm with harshness. I could quench their thirst for frivolity. But would that eternally kill the soiree? Would they loose their lust for life, their hankering for hilarity? One day would they visit my quiet and empty house and demurely visit politely on my couch?

I loved watching my mother soak in the party before her as if it was only there for the moment. It would disappear soon enough and leave her with it's memory to chuckle over in quiet moments long after we'd each returned to our homes. I knew that she would silently wait for the riot to return again.

And so I will continue to chase these little people around and call "Girils, GURILS .." up my stairs into the wee evening hours because that is where the relationships are made. That is where the party is and in this moment, I am lucky enough to be a part of it. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

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