Family Rules

Family rules

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything on my blog. The truth is I have tried to jot a few things down, but each time I could tell it was a heap of nothing. No, that’s not quite it. They were steaming piles of words that gave off odors that would make a stockyard proud. I mean world class stinkers. One attempt was convoluted. Hell, I couldn’t even understand it. Another happened to be a rant about a thing I despise, closed-minded people, and the voice in my head reading it sounded more snooty than a rich old spinster at a hobo convention.

So here I sit with a non-working brain, watching my two littlest children playing and watching The Polar Express. Yes, I know it’s the middle of August in Arkansas, and hot as a skillet ready to fry an egg. The kids don’t care. Besides, who gives a diddly damn. The toddlers are quiet, and if that doesn’t make sense, you’ve not watched twin two-year-olds.

Yep, I’ve put in my time with the diaper brigade – still am actually. Please don’t assume that I had my wife do the dirty work. Don’t do that. I’ve cleaned my share of bums, been peed on numerous times, daytime and nighttime, and gone the distance with two AM clean ups after fountains of puke.

Just the other day I counted the length of time I’ve had baby detail. I’ve been doing it at a constant rate for fourteen years. At one point we had diapers on six children. Talk about a shitty time. The last two (twins) are in the process of house training right now. Yes, I know the correct term is potty training. Have you ever tried the process with twins? Besides, kids with my genes need house training.

Let me correct another misunderstanding. Twins are not just as easy as one. My God, no. The first three months liked to kill us both. By the time baby-one was changed and fed, baby-two needed the same. Then we repeated said action with baby-one, etcetera ad nauseam. This continued both night and day. My wife is a hardcore mommy, but luckily they were bottle fed. She did an enormous job, but I did my part as much as I could, considering I was recouping from my heart attacks. (It was simply a coincidence that my heart gave out near the time the twins appeared). Good thing she’s much younger. I’m just thankful they weren’t triplets or quads.

Let me simply say I was lucky to survive.

Moving on, I need to also mention the UFC style fights the twins get into. To them, the rules are no rules. Wait … I remember one: you have to scream and cry the entire time. The babies are normally calm, cute, and cuddly, but holy crap they can fight, scream, and yell. It’s horrible when one tears off a screech, but when the other joins, the duet drives me to me to my knees. Yeah, laugh all you want. It hurts, and my ears aren’t near as good as they need to be. After almost ten years in the Field Artillery, I’m flipping deaf. Even so, It feels like ice picks sticking through oposite ears and fencing in my brain. Someday the older kids may come in after-school, find their parents on the floor, blood spewing from their ears, and have to call 911.

But enough. Let me revisit potty training. I’m simply looking forward to the big girl, big boy underwear phase. I will truly do the happy dance when that happens. I’m sure it’ll look like Fred Astaire dancing on the walls and ceiling.

The next phase is rough too; it’s the crayon marks on the walls. That happens about the time they try putting toys in the toilet until it overflows. All of my kids are great, but years ago I learned how to take the necessary apart. Again, shitty job, because not one child out of the ten says a thing about the toilet being broken until there is a turd or two floating in the contrivance and it won’t flush. Up until that point, they will keep the secret longer than spies out in the cold.

But it’s not all that bad. So, here is the final word. No matter what kind of a pain-in-the-ass your family is, it’s the laughs, the tears, the midnight puke cleanups that count. You know what? There is fun, but families aren’t about that exclusively. They are about nurturing, teaching, living, and loving. The whole thing of the family cannot be described. It must be lived and experienced, preferably both as a child and an adult. It is at once, the most hellacious and wonderful place where I can imagine.

And don’t worry about being dysfunctional either. I have never seen any family behave the way they should. All are dysfunctional. Well, maybe they behave normally for a short time like at church, or when they have company visiting, but that’s not always true either. I believe probably one, or both parents give commands to their children to “behave yourself” trying to pre-empt trouble. I know my parents tried that. I have too. But I also remember a legendary fight at church when my brother and I wound up sitting next to our dad while he continued with his sermon.

There are little quirks everywhere too. The stress of the world today, yesterday, son-of-a-bitch it’s all-encompassing. Stress blows the little things into big things! Stress is everywhere – someone wants more babies while someone else doesn’t. The house itself is torn apart by the devilish children. There are medical issues, financial issues, sexual issues, communication issues, and those are only the tip. How about when one parent steps out on the other, teen squabbles, unwanted pregnancies, and throw a death in there too just for good measure. And even this list isn’t all-inclusive. There are still more things that test the metal of every part of the family.

The funny thing is this. After all these catastrophes a lot of families still stand proclaiming normalcy to all that care to look. That doesn’t fool me though. Like I said, don’t be ashamed of being dysfunctional. I can’t think of anything more normal.

With all those things happening, it’s a wonder that any families survive. Some don’t, and their stories are true tragedies worthy of Sophocles and O’Neill.

But. There is a but.

The ones that make it past all of the dead ends come out like swords emerging from the water – tempered and ready for honing. They hold the sharpest of edges. It is that kind of existence that can produce a keen-edged person able to grab life by the ass and hold on, ready to bend it to a task. They have the potential to live in their own nirvana, and that is the goal.

Unfortunately, people in the everyday mix of everyday family events may forget, or even not recognize how fun things really are.

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