Not that you asked…

Family update, not that you asked, but I’m just getting over my PTS from last week, and I could use a little support from things that don’t slither or build webs.

Even gratuitous interest is welcome.

Something I knew, but conveniently forgot, three-year-olds scream. A lot. It’s sort of an ear-piercing howl that lingers in the air as if a recently smoked cigar. You know what I mean? But so do their giggles and that’s the win.

I wake up to the echo of soft laughter coming from down the hall and can’t remember a time when this wasn’t so?

The odd thing is when it’s quiet you know there’s trouble brewing, that’s when you jump up and rush the tranquility.

Rounding the corner to the room in which the twins were last seen, I ask accusingly, “What are you two doing?”

“Nothing (in unison),” claims Cora and Sienna, looking up at me with the most cherubic faces you have ever seen.

“What’s in your hands?”

Four sets of little hands disappear, “nothing Grammie.”

“Are those Kiki’s earrings I see scattered all over the floor, dangling from your shirt, hiding in your hands?”

“We organizing Grammie.”

“Did Kiki ask you to organize her jewelry?”

“Yes, she did,” says Cora.

“Seems odd?”

“We helping,” says Sienna as she holds a crystal earring up to her ear.

“Let’s put them all back and then we can have an Otter Pop!”

By the way, Otter Pops solve everything.

Can we move on to the industriousness of our five-year-old roomie? When this child is in pursuit of an important task it is nearly impossible to dissuade her. Recently I found her creating a collage with my latest DIY magazine, later that day she was using my toothbrush as if her own, after relocating my lipsticks to an undisclosed location? Today she was lavishing my French perfume on the dog and my hair clip has mysteriously disappeared?

It’s quite possible Shaggy not only smells but looks better than the humans with whom he resides?

And by the way, adult children revert to their adolescent personas when in the company of their parents, only now they’re educated, self-funded, and not subject to parental restrictions or grounding.

It’s utter mayhem.

Even so, everyone is getting their needs met, albeit with a few peculiar compromises, and silent negotiations. We’re under construction, literally, and metaphorically. My daughter and son-in-law just took ownership of the house across the street. It needs some serious renovations, but that’s the beauty of a large family, many hands make light work as John Heywood notes.

Families have their own micro-culture, it’s as if a bustling harbor, a place to moor your person while you recover from the stress of the outside world. Shannon Alder says love doesn’t make the world go ’round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile, and family is your fast pass.

The best part of being in a large family is you don’t have to waste your time trying to prove yourself in order to be loved, we actually care about each other, and value one another even when we’re acting like total assholes. At least we take turns. Can I just add some of us have taken more turns than others? As Johathan Carroll reminds us, real love is always chaotic. You lose control; you lose perspective. You lose the ability to protect yourself. The greater the love, the greater the chaos. It’s a given and that’s the secret.

I have learned through long and lengthy discussions that disagreements don’t get resolved, they hibernate, until a new issue emerges, and they return disguised as concern, judgment, or control. There are no winners in the ring of unresolved conflict, just knockouts, and bruised feelings. You can’t change people, it’s more about acceptance, and the resolve to agree to disagree. I have to learn to be okay with that, move on, grab an Otter Pop. #LifeLessons

Here’s another hiccup when you live in crowded conditions with wannabe fairies, aka Cora, Sienna, and Audrey. Things get lost! Julie lost a wallet, Larry couldn’t find his keys or flipflops, and I believe there was a necklace that went missing for several days. I keep losing the book I’m currently reading, our shoes are never where we left them, and we are always in search of our iPhones. When one phone rings seven people go into a hard scramble and one of them doesn’t even own a phone?

One day I was using my Airpods and the next day they were gone! I accused everyone (including Shaggy) of borrowing them and then failing to return the merchandise. They all vehemently denied any knowledge of their whereabouts (keep in mind four of us have the exact same model).

A week later I found them precisely where I always store them and had searched this location no less than fifteen times! Fairies or adults? We’ll never know for sure.

The minute the kids got the keys to their new house, we migrated across the street as if a murder of crows, forming this makeshift crew of amateur artists attempting to paint a new portrait over a previously used canvas. The kids have submitted plans to the city for an extensive remodel, and while they await approval, there is a lot of prep work that needs to be done. The first order of operations was to pull up all the old carpet, clean out the garage for storage, remove the draperies and rods, along with some of the landscaping, and finally take down the dated wallpaper.

It’s interesting to me how our lives follow the same cycles, we experience periods of creation, followed by deconstruction, and then reconstruction, and it’s the same for houses, cultures, governments, movements, relationships, even our faith. Is this what you think about when you can’t sleep? I didn’t think so.

Too bad we’re deconstructing this beautiful house in the middle of July, it’s hot and humid, and I believe I have sweat out half my body weight pulling carpet staples out of the floorboards.

We were delighted to find hardwood under all the carpets, solid wood doors on all the rooms, and a wallpaper mural of Paris in the dining room! Everywhere I look I sense a surfeit of memories and traditions lodged in the walls of this charming house and smile warmly at the sweet memories domiciled in the future.

Our lives are continually under construction, just when things get comfortable, we find ourselves redesigning the idle spaces. “Every day we reconstruct ourselves out of the salvage of our yesterdays,” says James Sallis. I say family is but a glimpse of heaven simmering on the fires of hell, and like Olaf says, “some people are worth melting for.”

I’m Living in a crowded Gap, searching the net for diversions, catch me up on your life in the comments!


  • “The strewn and tangled wreckage that litters our lives is the precious raw material from which great beginnings are forged.” Craig D. Lounsbrough
  • “Writers will happen in the best of families.” Rita Mae Brown
  • “Before you were conceived, I wanted you. Before you were born, I loved you. Before you were an hour, I would die for you. This is the miracle of love.” Maureen Hawkins



Leave a Comment

  1. Cheryl, this is my absolute favorite post you’ve written. You capture so well all the love that lives along with the ugly we call family. Your closing paragraph sums it up so well. Thank you for the delightful read. Good luck with the remodel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness Ana, what kind words you left to brighten my day! So glad this one resonated with you, I was trying to capture the wonderful moments, along with the struggle of quarantineing with large families. It’s a balancing act but in the end it’s all worth it because “love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” Be well, C


  2. Looking forward to Part Two to this post months from now when they are still living with you….thank goodness you have your walking buddy!! hee hee
    ps….LOVE the Shannon Alder quote!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sue! Part II: From Mayhem to Madness! We might need to extend our hike from 5 miles to 10? Love the early morning walks and free therapy, I live with Looney, don’t need to end up in a loony bin! Here’s to great rides and lots of love, Cheryl


  3. Another wonderful post. My favorite line: “Families have their own micro-culture, it’s as if a bustling harbor, a place to moor your person while you recover from the stress of the outside world.”
    We are grateful to have connected with you, a little piece of family far away in miles but close in our hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gail! Thank you, I love that line too, a safe harbor is enormously appealing, especially in today’s world! We are enormously grateful to have you and Mike in our lives! We hit the jackpot! Looking forward to the day we’re all together again, including Nancy and the Goudreau’s! Miss you two! 💞


  4. I love this post. A great reminder that “assholy” (TM 😉 behavior from family members is a side-effect of the luxury of love in a large family where I don’t have to continually prove myself. Thank you for your thoughtful reflections

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Debra! So glad this one resonated with you, I imagine you have many of the same family dynamics as we do, coming from a busy and loving household! Enjoyed your seeing your name appear in the comments! Hope all is well with you and yours, be well, C


  5. Sounds like you are all making great memories for yourselves ! These are the times the kids and grandkids will look back on and smile . Remembering all of you pulling together as a family to make their house their home !
    Love and miss you !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Melissa! We have memories, and they are epic, I’ll admit that much! I wonder sometimes what will stay with our grandchildren from this whole crazy ordeal! We are so ready to start knocking walls down and watching the new house emerge from the rubble. I’m told it will be a long process! Miss and love you Melissa! Hoping for the rules to ease up and we can start expanding our bubbles! Love to see your new home sometime in the near future! Love, C


  6. Wow Cheryl, this was such a fun read. I can picture the girls sorting Kelley’s earrings, their giggles waking you up! And Audrey perfuming Shaggy! How blessed are you? Julie & Nic across the street, the family all involved in this life changing project – tearing out carpet and building up memories. Oh my. I loved every word. As usual, you took me on the journey with you and I enjoyed every minute of the ride. Love you my friend. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jill, I miss you! And you are so right, the fun is in the chaos, and I feel as if I’ve been given such an incredible gift! Kids and grandkids moving right across the street ~ I’m overjoyed. Thanks for joining me on this incredible journey, your friendship is a big part of my joy, love you, Cheryl


  7. My youngest child is three, and I can’t imagine having two at the same time. Great post! Looking at the home reno pictures *almost* makes me wish those days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re embracing the chaos and fun! The new house has a lot of potential but needs so much work! It’s all very exciting and exhausting. Thanks for stopping by and joining me in the comments! C


  8. I love how your brush strokes paint the detailed image and then go broad. And what brilliant three-year-olds you have to be organizing already! And as a matter of fact, I have thought about deconstruction and reconstruction in the middle of the night and in connection to my homes, relationships, and life. It doesn’t seem you’re feeling alone right now…just know I completely relate, and you deserve that road trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Crystal, it seems as if you get right to the core of my intention, to take the mundane and make the message universal. I am thrilled to know someone else is out there, when the stars are their brightest, thinking about patterns of creation and destruction. Amazing. Good to know I’m not alone in my wayward thoughts and yes, I’m ready for that road trip! All my best, C

      Liked by 1 person

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