My son comes home tomorrow. The end of his freshman year in college. His twin sister returned a few weeks ago. Our home will finally feel whole again. It may also feel like complete chaos.
Family is messy, and not just in the literal sense of the expression. Yes, there will be more dishes in the sink and more laundry to do. I will need to go to the grocery store more often, cook more, and, in general, spend more money. Somehow, more bodies around will not equal more helpers in the house. Just more stuff. It will also mean more disarray and turmoil for all of us.
My youngest and I have gotten used to the calm and quiet of just two of us in the house. It seemed strange at first. We were once a family of five in a large home with two dogs. All of a sudden we were two, in a small house, with one little dog. It took some adjusting, but we have our routines now and we have gotten quite comfortable in our new norm. Life seems far simpler than it did.
With the return of her siblings, rivalries start stirring again for my youngest. Arguments over who is meaner to whom, which child is, in fact, the golden child, and whose turn it is to walk the dog will start permeating our days. The twins, being twins, have always had their sidekick, so there’s a constant two against one mentality among the three. And, I will repeatedly be trying to bring peace without demonstrating any favoritism. If I scold one this time, it must be another the next.
Adding divorce into the equation makes things even more complicated. My youngest follows a specific schedule for where she stays and when. Her brother has agreed to generally go along with that. His twin, on the other hand, is far more interested in convenience. “Where do I want to sleep tonight and for what reason?” seems to be her mantra. Considering she’s almost 20 (OMG!), it’s a bit nonsensical to demand she follow a specific schedule, but it definitely creates more confusion as to who is coming and going.
There will undoubtedly be moments when I am holding my breath, counting the weeks until college starts again. I’m sure the same can be said for my oldest two as well. And, I know my youngest will announce at least once a day that she can’t wait until her brother…or her sister…or both, go back to school.
But, there will also be moments when I never want the time to end. I will look around at the messy house and thank God that I still have all three kids coming home. I will hopefully ignore the arguing and sibling rivalries, and remember to savor the time we have together. I will count my blessings and remember that not everyone is so lucky to have the madness, and messiness, of family.