Monday, December 19, 2011

A Full House

"This house is so full of people it makes me sick. When I grow up and get married, I'm living alone! Do you hear me? I'm living alone!"
--"Kevin," Home Alone

It's December 19 at 6:40 p.m. and I am alone in my house. Hubby is at Target picking out rayon-derived-from-bamboo socks for me that will be "from Livie," and returning the last thing we forgot to return the last time we were in Target (yesterday). The Christmas lights are on. The only sound is the dishwasher's soothing hum. Bliss.

This moment is the utter opposite of the way I spent my day: in one of America's largest shopping malls, paying for my kids to ride the Santa train and the reindeer carousel. We had lunch at a diner with four other moms and a total of eight kids under the age of eight years. Then we herded them around like manic cats, receiving compliments on their beauty and then alternatively, dirty looks as they had fits over who got to push the elevator button. Chaos. But fun. Really, truly, fun. Still, the solitude is welcome.

Solitude, to a mother, is in fact, something to be fantasized about. In the [stupid] movie Date Night, Tina Fey's character says that she dreams of being alone in a room with a diet 7-up (maybe it's a Sprite). That's about right. Except in my dream, it's a Diet Coke, and there's a sewing machine. To be alone with one's thoughts, with one's hobby, with one's book, on one's toilet. Oh the joy that would be.

And yet, before children, what I dreamed of was a full house. In fact, when Jeff and I were dating, I told him I wanted four kids. He said that's because I was picturing Thanksgivings with lots of grandchildren, but the reality would be him coming home from work to four naked kids and jelly on the walls. And he was right. We have two kids, and there is jelly on the walls, and the kids are often in a state of undress or unrest or both when he comes home.

But the point is, I wanted this: noise, mess, giggling, wrestling, toys, blankies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, stockings on the mantel, footy pajamas in the drawers.

It's not always fun though. Duh. The other day, we were driving home from somewhere (it was probably church) and the children were interrupting each other and us, complaining about being hungry/tired/bored/something mundane, and I had their junk just piled around me in the shotgun seat of my Toyota. I turned to Jeff and said, "When I grow up and get married, I'm living alone."

Jeff laughed. He recognized the quotation from Home Alone, where the eight year old is getting dumped on by his huge extended family as they all scramble to get ready for a trip to Paris at Christmastime. Sophia caught the inconsistency right away, but missed the intended irony: "Mom, if you get married, you don't live alone!" Eye roll.

How true that is, dearest. And what a good reminder when I'm up to my eyeballs in dishes and timeouts and whooping and whining that I have received my dearest wish. I have a house full of people. Kevin got his wish in the movie too, but realized in a few short days that life without family wasn't all he imagined it to be, even though he did get his very own cheese pizza and got to watch scary movies. And how empty I would feel without having these precious ones to wash and dress, love and comfort, cook for and read to. It's sacred, what I do. It's a blessed life.

So if you want to be alone when you grow up, don't get married or have children, because solitude in a family will not come cheap. But it will be blissful in those rare moments. So now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go count my blessings, remember that my full house is a winning hand, and take these last few quiet moments to listen to my dishwasher hum.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the perspective! I actually got to read this whole blog, uninterrupted by any of my four children - this is a blessing (I take them where I get them.) Merry Christmas!