The Best Kind of Crazy
They remind me that simple is best. That entertainment doesn't need to be flashy, requiring endless energy - that it can be quiet and still and relaxing.
They pile on to my bed a mountain of books to go with the mountain of kids. We get lost in endless adventures, celebrate victories, travel to far-off lands, make new friends, and see life through others' eyes.
Naptime begins with a whirl of activity. The big bed is prepared to welcome four napping children while six older children decide how to quietly entertain themselves. Bike riding and other outdoor activities win on this gorgeous day. Mama settles the littles into bed, then curls herself up with a cup of coffee and a good book.
Little ones and Mama recharged, giant floor puzzles grace all large, flat surfaces. Hearing that yet more friends are due to arrive, they are cleaned up in a jiffy.
Children spill out of the house, ready for new adventures. There are pirates on the upper deck, chalk artists down below. "A walk!" one of the youngest exclaims shortly after the arrival of two more friends. Baby tied to Mama's back, ten children venture forth to see what gifts our walk has for us today. We leave two teenagers at home, where they relish the sudden peace and quiet.
Ready to greet us is a dog and her owner. The grown-ups aren't sure who is more exited to see whom, as the dog can barely control her excitement, nor choose which of the horde of children to lick next. On we go, down the street, all of us on foot. The littles run ahead and are reminded of the rules: we don't run toward the busy street, but on the way back, may run home toward the dead end. We say hi to neighbors, several confused as to how there seem to be more and more children each day. We admire flowers of every color and the bees and butterflies visiting them. One of the littles discovers a tick-tock-croc in a garden. Most of the children jump and turn when Mama exclaims, "SKUNK!" only to discover a painted wooden skunk in a neighbor's yard.
A Peter Pan-esque refrain of "We're Following the Leader" starts and the kids take turns being the Leader. Nine kids marching, singing, leaping, twirling, all in line, no arguing, no me-nexts. Quite miraculous, that.
"Halt!" exclaims Mama. All stop in their tracks. "Now run home!"
All but the hand-holders gleefully run for the quiet end of the street.
A game involving a ball and teams is going by the time Mama with baby on her back and the hand-holders arrive a minute later. When the first of the parents' cars pulls up, there is great disappointment in the ranks, as this signals the end of this Very Fun Day.
Sitting down to dinner with only her five children, Mama sighs. "Today was the best kind of crazy." All agree. "And the quietest crazy we've had in a while."
"That won't ever happen again, you know." says a Very Wise Child.
"It might," replies a happy yet exhausted Mama, "although I'm not planning on attempting it again any time soon."