When people talk about that time of life when the chicks fly out on their own, it’s mostly about the poignant touch of sadness when the nest is emptied. The house falls more silent, the animation at the dinner table goes down a few notches and the moments of melancholy appear. But being the resilient, adaptable creatures we are, most parents soon realize, “Hey, we cleaned up the kitchen counter and it stayed clean all day!! We bought some treats and they’re still in the fruit bowl! When the phone rings, we’re not as worried as we used to be that it was the police demanding bail money! And maybe we don’t feel like cooking, so we don’t and go out to dinner and take in a movie. This is great!!!”
When the kids come home over the vacations, we’re so happy to see them and the house is again filled with mirth and merriment. We sadly bid them goodbye again, but not quite so sadly as they might think. “Finally! We can get the house back together again and have some peace and quiet!!”
And then the whole pattern begins again with the grandchildren. I’m fine either way, but personally, I like having the house filled with their spirit. Sure, the house before they come and after they arrive is like getting on a train in Switzerland and disembarking in Italy. Order gives way to chaos, but there’s more electricity in the air. (No offense to either Swiss or Italians, but take that train ride and you’ll see what I mean.) Little Malik (one and a half years old) took great delight in removing a shelf of CD’s and spreading them out on the floor, Zadie this morning ripped through the presents and covered the floor in torn wrapping paper. Of course!! It’s the price one pays for their spirited energy filling the nest with shrieks and laughter, chatter and song. I love it.
Zadie spent the night with us last night while Malik, Kerala and Ronnie took advantage of a spare room at Talia’s house. Karen gave her a toothbrush (she had forgotten hers) and she ran to the door as the family was getting in the car shouting, “Look!!! I got a toothbrush!!!” Some 25 gifts awaited her under the tree, but she was SO excited about this toothbrush. Kids. You gotta love ‘em. And I do.
Now it’s out of the house and off to the park, maybe convincing Zadie to take off her fairy princess dress (nice balance to the Hulk costume she wore for Halloween) and maybe not. It’s all good.