Monday, December 21, 2009


One weekend last fall, my four highschoolers travelled to North Carolina for a youth conference. With Reuben away at college and Emily and Dennis living in Iowa, that left only one child - Helen - at home with me and Steve. Sometime over the weekend, Helen commented, "It would be so sad to live like this all the time. It must be really lonely for kids who don't have any sisters and brothers."

I think for people who don't have a large zoo living in their house, the opposite might be true - relative quiet would be the norm, and the craziness our family is accustomed to might tax their nerves! Also, I suspect that kids from small families have more friends outside the family circle who help meet their need for community.

Thomas was filling out some kind of a questionnaire for a school assignment this fall, and was stumped by a question asking him to name his three best friends. He paused and wondered aloud how he should answer. "I don't have friends - I have brothers." For some reason, he thought maybe those two relationships were mutually exclusive. I assured him otherwise! I am confident the three best friends he will ever have, even far into the future, are the three brothers he currently talks and wrestles and hunts and creates with daily.

In a phone conversation with Emily recently, she commented how much she and Dennis had enjoyed a holiday dinner with several families from their new church. Being in the midst of a house full of people, with a quash of children and babies, a bustle of chatter and activity, had been such a treat. "It made me realize how much I've missed, without even realizing it, the hub-bub of a large family."

Reuben reading the latest Harry Potter book out loud to his siblings as they sprawl all over the living room floor in the warmth of a winter fire....Emily making paper dolls with her little sisters....Thomas teaching Helen how to shoot her very own Red Rider BB gun....Ben and Martha cooking together in the kitchen....Nate fixing breakfast for his brothers before an early morning deer hunt....these are some of my very favorite memories. Precious, precious times!

Yes, it gets a bit crazy and loud and boisterous around here sometimes. My huge teenage boys seem incapable of walking past one another without deliberately crashing into each other and having a wrestling match. Sometimes, there are so many large bodies hovering in my small kitchen that there really is no room to maneuver...and then I have to order, "Everybody MOVE!" They will cram shoulder-to-shoulder on the couch to read their latest library treasures, often turning reading time into wallowing time. It's not unusual for one kid or the other (or a parent) to spontaneously burst into rowdy song or dance...especially after watching a movie like "Fiddler on the Roof"or listening to a CD of Irish pub songs by the Dubliners!

A lot of people live in this house, and they seem to always be talking to each other, or singing, or debating some topic, and/or sitting on each other or ambushing each other or wrestling or dancing. It really is a Wild Rumpus. And I agree with Helen - it WOULD be kind of sad to miss all of this. If your ears are used to hearing many voices, if your eyes are used to seeing many faces, if your body is used to the frequent hugs and touches of many siblings, you would feel starved without all that stimulation. And so....

Let the Wild Rumpus begin!

1 comment:

emily said...

I am LOVING being in the middle of things again for a few days!