As a parent to three small children, I am no stranger to chaos. Clamoring, pounding and shattering comprise the auditory ambiance of my home. So one would think just adding more children would constitute more of the same. Such is not the case. My sister has four children of her own and together these little darlings form a band of something that is other; not quite children anymore. Rather, a pack of beasts that takes on characteristics of its own; moving like crows in a harvested corn field, following an invisible lead, bouncing from area to area as one, turmoil following them wherever they light. Now that they are a bit older they can be cajoled into cleaning up after themselves, a vast improvement to previous gatherings, but left unchecked a carefully cleaned home can be thrown into an unrecognizable disarray in a matter of moments, expected guests be darned.
With more children on the way, the decibel level isn't expected to return to a non-damaging degree until after lights out, mercifully sometime around 7:30 p.m. The saving grace this holiday weekend is the beautiful weather we've been blessed with. Faith is restored as the band of merry nymphs are sent outside into the sunshine to hoist their havoc onto the welcoming outdoors, deaf to their fracas and jubilee alike. That is until parched throats and tired legs drive them back inside with a whine that is a barely disguised desperate plea for a nap.
Much as calm isn't to be found during these occasions, it isn't really welcome here. The rowdy crew that pulses by is the life force of our family. Silence would come at a price, representative of a gathering drained of vitality. The grown-up time in the late evening is just that much sweeter once the quiet descends, after the last of the giggling has abated. So until then, we redirect and tolerate; in the back of our minds already predicting the nostalgia we will feel for these days when they are gone.
I like to throw things.