Tea Party nothing new to mom’s brood of revolters

Categorized as 02/22/10 Goshen News column

What a year it’s been in American politics. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, you have to admit one thing. It hasn’t been boring.
It’s hard to remember a time when so many citizens have been galvanized into action. People, seemingly in record numbers, are sitting up and taking notice of what Washington is doing. This is confirmed by last summer’s raucous town hall meetings and the tea parties held across the country.

This phenomenon, known as the Tea Party movement, is, of course, a throwback to the original Boston Tea Party wherein disgruntled settlers protested government tyranny by dumping tea into Boston Harbor. It was a symbol of rebellion, a shouted, “Enough,” by the colonists.

While I haven’t personally attended a tea party, I believe I may have staged a couple of real informal ones in my youth. Who, after all, hasn’t protested heavy-handed parental interference in the form of curfews and chores? I clearly remember arguing with my mother about how many nights out were required for my busy social calendar. Somehow, our numbers never matched.

She learned what a log cabin tea party looked like, and I learned what a log cabin tea party shutdown looked like.

Now I’m the mom. I don’t have a log cabin on 1.5 acres, but I have an old farmhouse on 3 acres, which gives plenty of room for our local colonists to revolt. And revolt they do.

From the young adult down to the three-year-old, they have proven to be prolific revolters. It’s tough, for instance, to be a YA (young adult) in college who, understandably, wants to live a college-dorm lifestyle. Only, he doesn’t live in a college dorm. This provides any number of issues that spark tea parties.

Take curfews, for instance. If we lived in a sprawling mansion with four separate wings, this would be a nonissue. But since we live in a tiny farmhouse with hardwood floors, it’s a big issue.

For one thing, you just can’t buy socks quiet enough to sneak up the squeaky wooden stairs without detection, especially since they run up three feet from my pillow. And there’s no such thing as a quiet flush, either, not when the pipes run directly behind my pillow.

Since I’m a “working besides” mom (I have a paying job besides all the non-paying ones I do), sleep is rather important to me. When I was a YA myself, I could run on fumes. Now, as a forty-something, my carburetor goes kerplunk by roughly 10 a.m. if I don’t get my rest.

Chores have certainly afforded some choices opportunities for the tea partiers over here. In our economy, everyone has to help. In fact, our family motto is, “You live here, eat here, sleep here, you work here.”

Chanting this with the offspring before tackling the Saturday list doesn’t help my poll numbers, but it builds character like crazy. They don’t know it, but I believe this proves that I’m a very forward-thinking future mother-in-law. I figure that someday, there will be four girls who will kiss my feet and call me blessed because of all the things my boys know how to do. This will grease the skids, so to speak, with my daughters-in-law.

There’s a method to my madness.

Occasionally, the peasants revolt amongst themselves. The cause? Perceived injustices. These range anywhere from work-related claims (“I did it last time”) to finding their socks on a sibling’s feet to strictly bogus charges.

Instead of stealthy tea dumping by the light of the moon, their demonstrations are comprised of angry shouts, flying fists, hair-raising chases around the dining room table, and Air Soft guns.

The British could have learned a thing or two about quelling peasant rebellion from Mr. Schrock. Pretty much all he has to do when unrest flares is to move purposefully toward the rioters. They suddenly lose interest in expressing their civil unrest and gain a quickly-renewed concern for walking in paths of righteousness. And that’s me over on the sidelines, “trouble laughing” again.

If I wanted to, I could hold my very own tea party over any number of things, including the recent intrusion into my rare sleeping-in time the other Saturday. This in the form of a three-footer full of wiggles that knocked on our door and hopped into our bed. This also in the form of his certainly-not-three-foot daddy who instigated a wrestle and tickle session that left the covers tangled in a heap and the wiggler gasping, “Leave me alone! You ticka Mama.”

And did I mention the countless Sunday afternoon nap interruptions, thanks to thumps, bumps, scrapes, loud talking, and constant traffic on the stairs? This finally led to the father of the thumpers, bumpers, scrapers, and loud talkers to suggest that we should institute a counting method as factories do to track “safety days,” or days wherein no accidents occurred. At our house, however, they’re called “good nap days wherein no one under the age of 21 gets strangled by an angry, sleep-deprived mother.”
I should revolt. I’d like to revolt, but I’m just too tired. Maybe next week.

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