on having a family

Did I mention that I’m a parent? Probably not; I’ve been pretty busy this week. I’ve been too busy cooking and trying to keep the fridge stocked with milk to bother with petty details like “communication” or even “laundry”. I’m trying to survice, and let me tell you, it’s a cruel world out there. (Ok, that last sentence was thrown in wholly for melodrama. Not enough of it around here.) But let me explain.

We’re keeping le husband’s three youngest siblings this week. His dad is out of town, so they’re staying with us. We could have gone to his dad’s house and stayed there, but there’s a big reason not to: sleeping in the paternal bed. So. Not. Happening.

Anyway, for this week there’s five of us piled into a one-bedroom apartment. We have an air mattress in the breakfast nook, and that’s where we put J. He goes to bed earlier than everyone else so we have to put him somewhere he won’t be disturbed.

The girls are on the couches in the living room. Which leaves me a prisoner in my own house; if the lights are on, we’re laughing and chatting. It’s only after the lights snap off and the room is dark with moonlight filtering through the curtains, reflecting off the snow, that silence reigns. At that point I have to retreat to my room, conversing in hushed whispers with le husband, regardless of wether or not I’m tired. No paddng through to the kitchen to eat raspberries and coffee ice cream at midnight; no staying up just a little longer to watch an art film.

If I want to be alone sometime during the evening, I can go in the bathroom and shut the door, at least until someone else needs it.

On the other hand, the girls are fabulous at cleaning, used to it from their lives at home. Every evening I come home from to dishes freshly washed and a living room that’s been vacuumed.

Last night the kids stayed at someone else’s house and we were alone, by ourselves, in the apartment. It was quiet, and I knitted silently, reveling in the luxury of it. We stayed up late. We ate ice cream for dinner. We rejoiced in being just us for the evening, nearly drunk on the feeling of freedom and infinite possibility. Give us another ten minutes and we would have been ripping the tags off mattresses.

I think there’s a reason children don’t come to us large and loud and bearing homework: we’d be too overwhelmed to keep them. Instead they come small and slippery and loud and needy, and by the time they’re big we can’t help but want to keep them.

For all that, I’m currently reveling in my childless state.

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~ by wildeyedwonder on February 1, 2007.

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