Our nest has seemed really empty recently, and all 4 kids have been out of pocket: 2 are in summer school in their respective college towns and 2 are on a week-long trip with our church. Compared to the craziness of last week with the visit from the adventurous and furniture-eating college roommate, this week has seemed especially tranquil (translation. . . boring.) Even our baby blue birds have flown the coop. They've left the nest on our porch for the big world of our backyard. And my loving husband has been a little scarce too --he's afraid to be around too much, lest he be called upon to rescue me from a broken pipe in our basement or a newly deceased freezer filled with the bounty from last season's garden. Even when it's boring here, it's just not very boring.
So with that said, I've had a rare week of the house mostly to myself to "do whatever it is you do all day," (as my family sometimes comments.) And except for cleaning up a flooded basement, scrambling to store our frozen food somewhere below the freezing mark, and an occasional scare by my arch nemesis Friendly, who insists on sneaking into the house to keep me company, I've done just that--whatever it is I do all day. I think it depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is.
I've had time to work uninterrupted and also time to think and reminisce about busier days. I remember an incident several years ago when our youngest was preschool age, and she had a friend in the car with us as we drove home from a trip to a nearby town. Littlest One is typical of the birth order stereotypes--the most extroverted, fun-loving and excitement-seeking. And she also has just a hint of stubbornness rolled into the mix. (Definitely from her father's side of the family. Yes, most definitely.) On this hot spring day, I accepted my role as the fly-on-the-wall chauffeur and day-dreamed about world peace, Y2K and other important things like my formerly flat abs and about how expensive gas was getting these days at $1.20 a gallon (HA, those were the days, my friend), while the two girls sat in their car seats and giggled and talked. Our Littlest detested shoes, so almost as soon as the car was in gear, in typical fashion she kicked hers off. My thoughts were interrupted by our guest who apparently was not used to such brazen behavior, "Miss, Cathy, 'C' has taken her shoes off," to which I yawned, 'It's okay. She really hates shoes." [After having 4 kids within 7 years, this didn't even register on the Wild-Child Richter Scale.] A minute or two later I heard, 'Miss Cathy, 'C' has taken her socks off!" [Still, not even a blip on the Wildness Scale. Children at the lower end of the birth order know they can get away with tons more than that before Mom even raises so much as an eyebrow.] This ride home was becoming more like a sporting event with our guest taking the helm as the play-by-play announcer; and a few miles later, The Guest announced even more urgently, 'Miss Cathy, now she's taking off her SHIRT!" By this time, no doubt, the wheels were turning in "Bottom-of-the-birth-order's" head, and it seemed that she was not going to be outdone by the color commentary of her tell-all friend. It was like some crazy form of pre-school poker where each girl was trying to "one-up" the other; I could almost imagine our gal thinking , "Okay, I'll see your 'shoes-coming-off-tattle-tale' and raise you 'one shirt.' Whatdaya got now?!"
I ended the "poker game" thankfully before anyone went completely bankrupt. Sometimes you just gotta know when to fold 'em. (For the record, the Wild-Child Richter scale never even registered above a 2.)