Family Life

There are no bad experiences when the company’s good. I realized this anew when I came upon journal entries made when my kids were young. We’d just returned from the big trip to Disney World, where it was mobbed, as usual. We stood in the’ line-line’ mostly, snaking back and forth for 50 or 60 minutes to go on the seven-minute rides. (This on the left: the It’s a Small World After All Ride. Words can’t describe it. Really.)

When the week was over, one child named our visit to the Magic Kingdom the best part of the vacation, another cited Epcot. Our then-kindergartner said his favorite part was fishing in the creek behind our lodgings – with a saucepan and a pair of my pantyhose.

I recorded our fun both during that week away and the week following when we were all back in our routines and I have to say: reading those journal entries today has granted me a new appreciation for family life.

With family members you don’t have to pretend or explain. They ‘get’ you already.

The journal reports that occasionally, at the supper table, we’d play a certain game.

 “OK, let’s switch roles. You be Mom and you be Dad,” someone would say and a fast improvisation would take place.

I drew the 13-year-old role once. I swung my hair over one eye and said, “Give me money, give me a ride, give me money, give me a ride.”

Once, the five-year-old drew his father: quick as a wink he got down on the floor and began snoring, with a newspaper over his face.

And once our ten-year-old drew me. “Come to dinner, people!” she shrieked. “Come before I throw it all in the yard for the raccoon!”

It’s instructive to watch yourself thus parodied.

In a family, people come home with tales of pain and triumph – funny stories too.

The then-kindergartner had the most of those. One day that week he told about the little classmate who would clasp her hands as if in prayer and squeezes her eyes shut during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Another day he reported that a big boy had told him he had his pants on backwards.

“I can’t understand it!” he said. “I put them on this morning and they were frontwards. And one day I put on my Spiderman underpants and looked later and they were GONE!”

“Then then in the hall the boy at the front ran and so then the whole line ran, and we got a big time-out. Then when we were doing words that begin with “f” Colin drew a person flushing a toilet and the teacher got mad. Then I got mad because she always lets the girls go first for recess and when I grow up I’m going to be a teacher and let the BOYS go first!”

“You talk kind of a lot,” someone observed, not unkindly, after five straight minutes of this monologue.

“I can’t help it,” he earnestly answered. “School is a strong thing.”

It sure is. Every day we go out and face strong things in life.  Morning comes and food gets gulped down, there’s a mad scramble for shoes and then everyone is out the door with no one left to enjoy the sight of sunlight pooling on the floor.

Ah, when my children were young!

At night, when they slept, I made the rounds to kiss their fresh young faces, smelling as children’s faces do, like apples and geraniums and fresh-baked bread. I knew they would grow up and leave us. I’m just glad I also knew how much I loved them; how often they made me smile.

4 thoughts on “Family Life

  1. Hi Terry how are you feeling? Enjoyed your story. A family of my own was something that eluded me, much to my dismay.

  2. Took a deep breath and said, “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” after reading this. It was like the air after a spring shower: Refreshing!! Building great communiction skills through unconditional love has paid off for ALL concerned. God has multiplied your efforts and now you are muliplying yourself by sharing your stories; blessing us all. Life is gooood.

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