My sister and her baby girl were in town for Memorial Day weekend, so we spent most of the weekend at my parents’ farm. We descended on the house with our usual entrance of noise and chaos. My kids were over the moon about getting to see the baby. She thought they were very interesting, but her short life as an only child with no cousins nearby had left her woefully unprepared for the intensity of physical love exhibited by a “big,” boisterous family. Before long she had this look on her face:
My sister suggested a walk. Dad had improvements he wanted to show us, and the kids think the farm equipment is their own private junglegym, just as I did when I was growing up there. So the suggestion met with instant approval, which meant it only took twenty minutes to find coats and shoes for everyone and get them out the door. I made it outside with Julianna, the last one, in time to hear my sister tell my dad, “Now this is where these kids belong–outside. Hurricane Basi!”
I got a pretty good laugh out of that one. It’s such an apt description! But it brings to the front some puzzlement, too, because I’m from a family of four, my dad’s from a family of four, and my mom is from a family of ten. And yet everyone seems a bit taken aback by the sheer energy level and moto perpetuo that is my brood of four. Now, why is that?
“You had three boys in your family,” I said to Dad as we followed the kids toward the big sprayer. (In fact, three boys and a girl, in the same birth order as my kids.) “Was it not like this?”
“I don’t remember it being like this,” Dad said, shaking his head.
“Then again, you guys probably were outside all the time.”
“We were just busy all the time,” he said. Perhaps that’s the solution to the mystery: when you get up to milk cows at 4:30 in the morning, and you spend the day following Daddy around helping with farm chores, you’re constantly in motion anyway. So there’s the solution to the chaos level in our house. Note to Christian: Quit your job and become a farmer. Today. Move to the country. I’ll keep the house & garden, and you keep the kids busy….
Yeah, maybe not.