Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Putting the F in Family

Someone is always throwing up or urinating or defecating on or around our home each and every weekend. We have ten grandchildren. The oldest is nine. The whole bunch lives five minutes away from us. Do the math.

A lot of people told my husband and me that we were too young to get and stay married. We didn’t listen. We just staggered to the edge of the cliff of life and jumped off. Our oldest child was born thirteen months later.

One of my most vivid, blurry moments of those impossible early years is that of my young husband and new father—naked—stomping around the bedroom, gathering up our wailing first born, sinking (still naked) into the rocking chair, and shouting, “Back to the damn chair.” I know why he cussed, but I can’t remember why he was naked. That part is still fuzzy. Assorted stomping silliness, sans clothes, ensued for the next two decades.

With the help of organized religion and sheer tenacity we managed to raise a United States combat soldier, a ballerina with a degree in dance education, a political science major, and a organizational communications major. So, if you need someone to shoot straight, dance angelically, or talk passionately about politics, we’re your people.

I like to say that we didn’t raise our children to kiss us, as much as we raised them to kiss their children. And they do, because . . .

Firstly:  Our children actually had children or as my son-in-law declared to my daughter, while fleeing a public park with a possessed, head spinning, screeching toddler, “Our life is already crap. We might as well have more kids.”

Secondly:  They chose family over “fun.”  A lot of young married folks like to say that they’ll have kids after they stop having “fun.” Come to our house; I’ll show you some fun.  Or as great grandpa Zern said—as he watched Conner (7) get his loose tooth pulled by Uncle T. J., Sadie (4) sail by in a Fisher Price Dune Buggy, Zoe (9) dig a series of “honey badger” nests, and Kip (4) pee on some ants, “This is better than television. I should have brought my movie camera.”

And Thirdly:  Of children, it is said, “For of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” Then we must conclude that Heaven is a noisy, busy, joyous place. Or as Zoe said when she noticed the full moon for the first time as a tiny little girl, “Wow!”

After one particularly rowdy family event my husband shook his head and said, “There was public urination, wrestling while nude, and sword fighting. It’s like being at a medieval bar.”

Or a frat house on Saturday night where someone is always throwing up, urinating, or defecating in public.

And that starts with ‘F’ and that begins the fun and that stands for family.

Linda (Fun Stuff) Zern


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