November 29, 2016

You won't always like each other: Week 14

Just like that - the honeymoon is over. Well, not really, but it's time for a reality check. I spent months waiting to have the whole family under the roof and it was fantastic for at least 25 minutes. Then things got real.

Now, this is not to say I didn't love having my children nearby and didn't cherish every second. Rather, I'd like to say that going off to college doesn't make all those little personality nuances disappear or even fade. In fact, they seemed to come back stronger than ever. I'm still inclined to smother, one daughter is inclined to retreat to silence, the other inclined to know everything, and my long suffering spouse is inclined to immerse himself in busy-work to avoid the unending barrage of estrogen that suffocates him.

Suddenly, a swath of destruction and mess wove its way through the entire house. There were shoes where there had been none, jackets and sweaters strewn on chairs, empty glasses that never even got filled, a bathroom counter filled with toiletries. The invasion had begun.

The food got eaten, the dishes got dirty, and the house was in an unending state of disarray. And all that was good. The house bustled with energy.

Other aspects of the weekend? Not so much. For example, for several years now, I have not lived down the purchase of a brand of toilet paper on sale that wound up being scratchier than sandpaper, because I insisted we use it up. That was the break my daughter looked forward to going back to the dorm, because the toilet paper there was better. Apparently, my acumen for a bargain completely ruined what we had coined "the home field advantage". When I made sure I didn't purchase that toilet paper this time, jokes were made about who was the favorite child and that sort.
Scratchy or not, it got used.

Sometimes I just want to sue Norman Rockwell for false impersonation of the American Family Life. Because nothing in my mind matched the reality. We settled down for a friendly game of cards and a joke was cracked and within an instant one family member called another family member an a**hole. Yeah. Nothing Norman Rockwell about that. Although, in retrospect, at least it was a comfortable a**hole, due to the upgrade in the toilet paper that wiped it.

The weekend came and went without any notable event, food was eaten and enjoyed, laundry was washed and folded, friends and family came and went. Before we knew it, it was time to load the car back up for a trip that began at 7 AM and circled back until nearly 8 PM. Our chicks were back in their nests.

Now the mess is cleaned up and the house echoes somewhat forlornly with tidiness. No random dishes, no scattered shoes, no a**holes to be found.

For at least another two weeks.

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