For the first time in a great many months, we had all five of the Beers boys home for more than a day.  In fact, over the Thanksgiving holiday, we spent 4 great days as a complete family under the same roof – all beds and rooms bursting to the brim.  

This also created an interesting whack-a-mole game walking into the mudroom, where one had to sneak carefully over size 11’s and 13’s shoes, boots, and other outside paraphernalia; the boys were more apt to shuck a coat on the floor rather than search for an empty hook.  I also began to heat the outdoors because it seemed nobody could remember to shut any door and, with boys, indoors is simply an extension of the outdoors.

I had prepared for days ahead, planning meals along with potential leftovers for lunches. Typically, I do reserve some extra grocery money for the holidays and visits, but apparently my memory was a tad rusty:  I didn’t put aside or plan nearly enough.  I did think to stock up on hand soap and tossed in a jug of laundry detergent at the last minute, but I misjudged severely on body wash and milk.  

The laundry room was as busy as the bathroom since I could hear the washer or dryer running constantly (which I suspected may happen so I did my own laundry ahead of time – good choice on the detergent), yet one morning the house phone rang and I heard [in a very loud boy voice

“Seriously!! Who takes a phone in the SHOWER! Get out and get your OWN soap!” (That’s when I found out we needed body wash).

If you passed our home during the day, you might think you accidentally stumbled upon a run-down used Chevrolet lot run by a modern day Buffalo Bill and his Congress of Rough Riders of the World; during the night, you might be intrigued by the boisterous laughter bouncing out of the lighted window of a rowdy saloon, uncontainable within four walls. 

I cooked up a storm preparing for and on Thanksgiving day.  When I finally looked at my list (after adding two more dishes) I thought to myself Well, you did it again, you went way overboard, we won’t possibly eat all this food. I should have thought again:  We ended up bringing a meal to friends (such a gift to us on the special American day of Thankfulness) and my boys must have been hollow from tip to toes.  

All told, I was in the kitchen from Wednesday morning until Sunday afternoon, breaking only to eat, wash a few loads of kitchen laundry and sleep.  I went through 15lbs of flour (pancakes, bread, biscuits, pizza, etc), 40lbs of meat (including turkey), 5 lbs of butter, ½ bushel of apples, 4 lbs of cheese, 5 doz eggs, plus more because I’m breaking out in sweats just reliving all those dishes so I better stop.

I loved every single moment of it from the humming of the washer to the warmth of the oven to the tune the water makes coming out of the faucet.  The boys exhausted me, but they brought life back to my days and camaraderie amongst eachother.  And if you happened to be out shopping early Friday morning to witness a gang of boys who looked surprisingly alike and were fairly obnoxious, please accept my apologies on their behalf.  Dilly Dilly.

It is so incredibly difficult, this stage of parenting.  You come across such a variety of problems you didn’t foresee and ever still enter into moments of incredulity at adult male brains; all while simultaneously stunned at how readily the kids fall into their old behavior and habits 
[Walking in the house with boots on]  as do you   [yelling at them to Stop coming into the house with your boots on!!]  

I wanted them to stay forever; I wanted them to leave yesterday. 

I pray they, too, had moments of love, joy and exuberance as brothers, my personal motherly goal, for it is they who will be left as family once I am gone.  These five are the flesh and blood born from my nothing, created by light and Love.  They, who carry my husbands’ everlasting blue eyes with my unattached earlobes, are beaming lights shining in the darkness of this world.  Their light, much like the laughter that bounced like flubber out of the kitchen into the night sky, beckons others to the goodness that is family life, continuing on the circle of time. That same flubber once in a while finds its’ way back to me in the silence of a still, empty home, filling it with joy and memories.    


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