As an empty nester couple, my husband and I are adapting easily (a little too easily?) to the quiet that reigns in our household. Sure, there’s usually music playing, and we chat constantly with the dog, but it is very different from the constant hustle and bustle of having a bunch of kids in the house. And then a holiday rolls around and the craziness comes with it.
We had our usual whirlwind Christmas chaos, with a quick trip to Forest Lake for a Parenteau family gathering on Saturday, then a Christmas Day event with two of the three kids. We all bumped together in the kitchen, laughed and talked and snitched goodies off each other’s plates, caught up on details of our lives and brought up the same old stories we tell each year. Lots of teasing involved, all around.
My son Nick and his girlfriend Jess showed up just in time for me to hand the gravy-making chores to him. He and I share a love of cooking, so spending time comparing notes and taste-testing is always fun.
Matthew, the baby, came over Monday and just left this morning (Wednesday). He is a joyful little punk to be around, a dreadful tease and says things that make us laugh so hard. Today he stopped by Radio Works before heading back to school in Sioux Falls, S.D., so we put him on the air for our daily “This Day in History” segment. I beat him, but barely.
Sadly, we didn’t get to see our daughter and her little family on Christmas Day. I understand the importance of having your kid wake up in her own bed on Christmas morning, and even encouraged it. How dumb am I? I probably could have guilted them into it.
By late afternoon on Christmas, Eric and I were tired. Having the gang around is tiring. There’s wrestling and teasing and always seems to be some kind of Nerf ammo flying through the air. It makes me wonder how I survived their teenage years. Maybe I was younger then.
There was no repeat of last year’s mustachioed gunslinger fights in the living room, but we did make Matt play Santa, which he hates.
“Why do you always make me do this?” he whined as he sorted out gifts from under the tree.
“Because you’re the youngest,” Jess answered before I could. This is funny, because she is a tiny person, reminds me of a pretty little Goth elf and is not even two years older than Matt. He’s about a foot taller then she is, so I love it when she sasses him.
We have had some interesting adventures on Christmas. There was the year we made Matt dance shirtless to the “Peanut Butter Jelly” song to earn a Monopoly property, the year the kids got a Play TV Baseball game which prompted a Wettschreck World Series, years of Lego building, a very memorable foosball day and afore-mentioned Nerf ammo. They still manage to get underfoot as I’m cooking, yet disappear when clean-up times rolls around until I bellow.
Another crazy, chaotic Christmas. I love it when they all come to visit. And love it when they all go home.