There’s Really Nothing Happening Here

Categorized as 01/21/08 Goshen News article

“Really?” I say. “Nothing happened?”


Out of curiosity I decided to keep a record this week of what really goes on here in the course of a normal, boring week. Here is a peek at my journal.

Sunday: Attend surprise party for sister-in-law’s 40th birthday. Came home, lay in bed with third grader whose love language is quality time. Older brother in camouflage slips in, making three. Uncharacteristically, oldest brother joins us, making four, then, characteristically, proceeds to pound younger brothers. Father enters fray, disperses mob. Team of Boy Scouts moves in to untangle knotted sheets.

Monday: Senior demonstrates superior logic by asking parents for ride to school because he has no gas, then announces plans to drive to Mishawaka later with buddies. Parents politely decline. Baby insists on feeding self, finger paints in spaghetti sauce. Popular Science magazine is confiscated from son with far more interest in gadgets than homework. Mother “encourages” keener interest in homework by firing in the air twice. Same son stops mother on the way out the door with pressing questions about Heaven. Baby sits on brother’s Ripstik, tries to “rip.” Mother overhears nine year old tell baby, “You surprised us (by being born)! You barely hit the target of life.”

Tuesday: Father changes baby before going to work. Calls up the stairs from a kneeling position, “This is a three-wipe deal – and you know I’m conservative!” Mother chortles at keyboard. Senior announces at breakfast that financial aid meeting was last night. Parents take turns pounding son into kitchen floor like a tent stake. Baby wakes up from nap with diaper inexplicably around one ankle, liberally waters bedding. Mother smuggles Blanky into machine to forestall angry wails at the window of the washer with desperate attempts to retrieve wet Blanky.

Wednesday: By now, mother needs mocha or she will high-center on fabled mid-week hump and never make it over. En route to purchasing her “therapy in a cup,” she drops three sons off at three different schools. Third grader gets dibs on front seat to brothers’ chagrin. The second his jeans leave the van, the 14 year old slithers his into the still-warm spot for the 12-yard drive to the middle school. Oldest son scoffs at mother’s defense of brother and her explanation that “this way, all three bottoms are happy.” Upon arrival at NWMS, 18 year old darts from back and charges for the passenger’s seat where brother is saying goodbye to mother and proceeds to “help” him out. The “helpee” throws himself in dramatic fashion across front seat, clutching and screaming in mock terror as “helper” pulls on his bottom half. (To the person who was dropping a kiddo off behind us – it only looked like a carjacking.) Mother makes note to self to purchase plastic glasses with fake nose and mustache in case she ever has to go to middle school again. Nearing Panther Drive, she slows to 35, forcing reluctant senior to jump before gunning it towards the coffee shop. Later, they meet the Schrocks at a Goshen restaurant to see brother in from Georgia. Service so slow that sister-in-law has another birthday and is now 41. Will 10 restless grandchildren stage a coup, start a food fight? Adults worry.

Thursday: Weekly 6:30 breakfast with oldest son. Conversation ranges from relationships to work to pros and cons of having a credit card at 18. Later, mother has mini meltdown, looks to resign over some issues with kids that suddenly rear up. Tells father to put her down like a horse with a broken leg. Father refuses, encourages instead. Lucky her. Lucky him. Lucky boys!

Friday: Weekly flight to (where else?) coffee shop to write column. Father set to leave for office with baby when baby waters his good shirt, requiring fresh clothes for both. Mother exhausted after typing 225 reports this week, issues SOS. Father saves the day, comes home with pizza.

Is it any wonder that I’m exhausted after a week full of “nothing?” This journal doesn’t even mention laundry, baths, cooking, and all the other things it takes to run a household. I’m sure if someone were to say, “So, what happened at your house this week,” your response would be the same as mine. “Nothing, really. Just – life.”

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