My family is not calm.
My family is not calm. Not a single aspect of my family has ever been calm. They are not a sedate group of people with whom you quietly sit around a perfect dining room table sharing a cup of tea in perfectly matching cups and saucers discussing, with elegant composure, any topic.
They. Are. Nuts.
My growing up years were full of mayhem with 14 first cousins living on a three-quarter mile of dead-end road. There was always something going on somewhere with someone that kept everyone entertained.
That Jackie (Seester) and her husband have continued the Griffith tradition with their kids is especially evident when I spend time with Jackie and family. Two kids, two spouses and two little munchkins a mere four and two and a half. You know what that means—we’re breaking them in early.
Extended Family Brings a Different Level of Chaos
Then there are the dogs. The dogs. When this post was first written in 2015, Airedales Lizzie and Gus were ten and nine. Jackie described them like this: “It’s funny how different two dogs can be. In the morning Lizzie is like RoseMary. Feet flying out the door …. jumping around and greeting everyone. Gus likes to lay in his bed until he absolutely has to get up. Or he gets up, goes outside to do his thing, comes back in and goes back to bed. That’s me.”
Gus, unlike Jackie, actually groans in the a.m. as he flips from side to side, stacking his feet up against the log wall. His nickname, due to said sound effects, is The Wookie.
Secretly, I think they have nicknamed Lizzie RM in honor of me. Morning spazzes unite. Both dogs have since passed and while still missed, the new Airedale addition, Daisy, has brought such a unique personality into the home that her humans are still highly entertained.
Visiting at Jackie and John’s house when everyone is there provokes a resounding chorus of havoc and non-stop energy. There is swinging, singing, farming, horse-visiting, dog-petting, out loud book reading (hilarious interpretations of the classics by my nephew-in-law), eating, bike riding, munching, fire-building, fire-tending, flies to be swatted, crayons to be used … and that’s just the adults.
Surely, I jest.
Kids Keep You Laughing
Kids invigorate grown ups to remember childhood games and rhymes—when’s the last time you did the Hokey-Pokey? And what exactly is that? We’re not sure either, but the lot of us dove into it and taught the little ones how to poke that hokey, dancing around in a loose circle for all we were worth. And dancing! How we danced. The Christian group MercyMe has some tunes that absolutely call for jumping up out of your chair and getting busy getting your groove on for God. I think he must appreciate the enthusiasm if not the talent with which we participate in letting our joy loose to a good beat.
When is the last time you pushed a kid on a swing as the four-year-old requested, “Higher, higher!”, or almost better yet, swung on the swing yourself? Legs folding under the swing then flying straight out before you, using muscles you don’t usually engage sitting at your desk. Why do adults remove the swing sets when the kids out grow them? Why do we out grow them? How fun it would be to replace those tiny seats with ones broader and continue to swing, urging ourselves to go higher.
My time around little children has been sporadic (because my friends with kids know me so well) since Jenny and Adam were tots thirty years ago. Being around these whippersnappers, to use grandpa’s phrase, with their boundless energy is always a total change for me.
I’m Such an Adult
Which explains why I started writing this while hiding in the NEST, wishing the fire were bigger and the wind lesser. This oasis hand-built with river rock on the Jackie-John property has comfortable chairs, an artistic mantle over the fireplace with a stone cross above it, a pizza oven, gas grill, wide windowsills and log table. With a love seat and comfy chairs, it is the perfect spot for running away from stress after a workday or when non-mothers need a brief moment, or several, of quiet.
Noted brother-in-law and oasis craftsman extraordinaire revived me with a glass of Middle Sister Rebel Red Wine. Haven’t tried it? Please do. The label gives a chuckle, “If anyone tells you they don’t like red wine, stop talking to them, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.” Yes, I so agree.
I’m sure growing up our family had and our family now has dysfunction in it—isn’t that human nature? Entwining personalities will conflict and recover and repeat. If you keep love as your basis, those moments of disagreement can be overcome.
Hanging out with Jackie and crew, I saw lots of humor, love, respect, tolerance, and I’ll add—protection. Kids draw that out of us—even confirmed non-moms such as myself. If you care about your relationship with children, you want them to grow up whole, as unscathed as any of us can be, and with crazy chaos surrounding and enriching their lives.
So when is the last time you: Put your right foot in, put your right foot out, put your right foot in and turn it all about…?
More family fun: Owning the Idiot Grin
Life has become much quieter this past year and I must say, I don’t care for it much. Sometimes families need some time to heal from inflicted wounds. It’s really hard and sad when those things happen….hopefully there can be movement forward to a new beginning. Life is too short to not have all that laughter and chaos in it.
We’re on the same wave length, sister. I just wrote in my prayer journal that I’m sad when people miss what is most important in life (at least to me) faith, family, friends. Thanks for causing chaos in Wales with me!
Such a fun post—every family has such unique dynamics to it. I’m glad ours was primarily fun when we were kids. And adults!
I love our crazy family! I hope to have lots of crazy this weekend!!
They are all nut jobs, but we’re lucky to have them!
I am ready for some chaos after being sick and quiet for a week….bring it on!
Be right over to cheer you up and bring some chaos your way!
The Hokey-Pokey? Actually, as this is the Halloween season, you should really be doing the Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Don’t dream it, Rose, be it!
(And you thought you were nuts.)
BTW, I don’t like wine, red or otherwise. (You won’t stop talking to me, will you?) On the other hand, I think it is spiritually wrong to not be a stout drinker. Let me know if you’d like to split a 4-pack of the Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout (10% ABV) sometime.
Ha, Andy! Even as a college student of the 70s, I never watched the Rocky show–isn’t that terrible? Actually, since I hate boxing, I never watched the Rocky movies. HA HA. On a roll this morning. I like stout beer. If you’re going to drink beer, it should taste like something–not that light stuff.
Fun, fun, fun. It is great to be around little ones. Up until the time you leave so that you can rest up after the excitement.
You’re so right, Beth! They are marvelous little tykes, but I needed a break before they did!
Sounds like a regular, fun family to me.
“Regular” being a subjective word, Jason.
I’m glad you are grateful for the mayhem. When my family lived closer to each other, it was like yours. Loud and proud! All Italian loud laughter all the time! But now, some have passed and others have moved away so we only get together once or twice a year to share in the merriment. It is definitely missed.
When I first traveled to Italy, I thought the Italians were always mad at each other…and yet the conversations would end in laughing. Then I figured it out!
There is no great a joy as being around a lot of family members at the same time!
My dog is right there with Gus. This morning I had to go find my dog, still under the sheets, pick her up and carry her to the grass to do her business. She came in, curled into a ball and went right to sleep. I’m sure she would get along with Gus wonderfully!
Erica, that’s hysterical–that you have to FIND your dog to take her outside! She and Gus must be related somehow.
Rose, glad you blessed with such insanity. I feel badly for those that aren’t. PS: The Hokey Pokey real is what it’s all about.
Yes, Kire–this is why I like your blogs so much!
Anyone with a “normal” family has to be somewhat bored.
Here’s to all of us teaching someone new to do the Hokey Pokey this week! HA!
Rose- My family is nuts and I would not trade them for the world. They keep me young and I keep them focused. It all works with the dogs and cats involved as well. We are truly the blessed ones
Oh boy, Arleen, cats & dogs? And kids and adults? Sounds like a fun place to visit!
Funny how you look back sometimes.
I remember the good times I had growing up, then I think hard. It was a mad house.
I guess sometimes you forget the chaos there was, I guess you just don’t want to think about those times.
Growing up, our house was always active and the house in the neighborhood where everyone wanted to hang out. Which is triple funny because everyone on the road was a relative so we flitted easily in/out of each other’s houses all the time. Ah, summers as a kid!
Chaos in families is what keeps us all together and on our toes. Throw a couple of dogs in the mix and the personalities expand ten fold. Btw, love the nest.
My bro-in-law is a Stone mason, Tim (he’s Italian–it hadda’ be so) and built the Nest. It’s a great spot–with pizza oven to come!
You are so right about the dogs adding another dimension to chaos. Can’t wait to have one of my own!
Rose – this is going to slay you but with my last name being Hokansson, we get referred to as Hokey all the time. I think when our boys were going to school a whole generation of students thought that really was our last name.
As to the hokey-pokey, of course we did that. With our name it was practically a requirement.
Love your family, they sound crazy they way every family should be.
Thanks for a lovely start to the day.
I love this story, Lenie! Your household (like Kire’s) must have been full of entertainment with all those kiddos around!
Each family definitely comes with its own form of chaos. I love how you put it, “They. Are. Nuts.” Enough said. In my case, certain members of my family literally are certifiable. It keeps things interesting…
Ha, Jeri! I have a friend with a couple of truly certifiable family members. She’s not sure why they are still roaming around except that they are so darned entertaining the family figures: Okay, dokay, we’ll just keep an eye on Uncle Sid. 🙂
Wonderful article Rose! Your family sounds terrific, and to be honest in celebration of completing a particularly challenging project I danced around with total abandon just the other day – wasn’t the hokie pokie but it was pretty cool and my partner was my dog who was a bit confused but licked my face in appreciation all the same. 🙂
I Love that you celebrated by dancing around, Marty! During last year’s dreary winter, I was known to play the Happy song each morning and dance around like a maniac. Isn’t that the best fun? I so have to get a puppy to dance with!
It sounds like you have a great family Rose! I def. can’t remember the last time I did the hokey pokey:-). And your brand of chaos does seem to make for happy times. BTW I LOVE your Nest.
AK, I fully expect to hear back from you on how the hokey pokey goes for you! It was fun (is fun) to be that goofy!
Hi Rose, I think the word chaos should be synonymous with family. In a good way, of course. It’s those fun, crazy, chaotic times with extended family that always end up being the most memorable. 🙂
Well said, Susan! Who the heck wants a calm family visit? Where’s the fun in that?
Your family sound like such fun!
Children always bring an element of chaos to your lives; the toys, constant washing and ironing, their energy.
At times I wonder how we spent our time before our children came along. Everything was focused on us and our needs. They certainly make you more selfless.
I enjoy being silly with my children, any excuse to bring out the ‘child’ in me. I also secretly enjoy watching children’s programmes and films with them!
“Constant” is a good word to describe being around kids, Phoenicia. They are constantly moving, doing, being and you are constantly following up or participating in all that. What fun!
So, do they do the Hokey Pokey in England?
PS. Monsters Inc is one of my favorite movies of all time.
The dogs seem to have a look on their face that might suggest they find it pretty strange to see family members doing the hokey-pokey.
Ken, off camera, they’re doing their own version of the dance.
Rose, you are SO lucky to have family–crazy or not! I have but one brother, and he had no children, nor did I. I’ve never had the pleasure of children in the family who would call me Auntie and sit on my knee. Enjoy!
Seester is the only sibling with kids, Doreen, so bless God for putting me there with them for ten years! They raised me right, for sure. They call me many things: Auntie, Aunt Romo, RM…and then I’m sure the names they made up for me when I was not at my best with them! An exciting thing was that the 4 & 2.5 year olds both said “Rosemary” with perfection. That was a shocker because even my brother, sigh, called me “Hosemary” for years. He couldn’t get the “R” right!
I think if I didn’t have them, I would have begged my friends to have their kids call me Auntie. Why not, right? In fact, there are still 3 little redheads kids my friend Tammy might let me brainwash into calling me that. Hm…things to consider!
Uh Oh….now it’s documented….
Yes, dear Niece, it is out there in the world!
Hilarious. Nothing more fun than the chaos of family. Thanks for sharing yours with us:)
You would enjoy these people. And the wine.
Remember, Nadine–you are related to all those nut jobs!