Are You THAT Family?

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put into that action.”
Mother Teresa

Are you the family with children that scream and throw tantrums in line?  Did you have to leave the register to chase down your toddler out the store’s front door? Were you the spectacle at the restaurant  because your kids spilled their beverage (twice) and kicked each other under the table while yelling loudly? Does your daughter’s hair perpetually look as though it hasn’t seen a brush in three days? Did your son wear his shoes to school on the wrong feet again? And again the next day?

Congratulations! You’re THAT family!  The inept parents with the kids that seem to be out of control. We’ve all been there. The key is to take a breath, find your center, then laugh. Sometimes the best antidote to the immediate stress of the situation is to find humor in the absurdity of family life. As parents, we can get caught up in the stress of the moment. We want to yell, threaten, but mostly, hide from our children.

It’s hard to understand that one day we will long for these chaotic moments. When our children are grown and no longer need us, we will wish for the times our children still cling in our arms. The best reassurance that this is temporary comes from the occasional older bystander. Surreptitiously, an older gentleman will be standing there, watching, smiling, absorbing it all. Through the screaming, the wrestling of the slippery toddler, and  the juggling groceries (all while wiping away the flopsweat) we’re profusely apologizing for all the chaos. But the older folks just smile and nod, utter a few kind words of encouragement and share their remembrances of their long gone little ones. And the sad truth is, they understand that these moments are too fleeting. Too brief. The memories of youngsters doing what youngsters do are just that-memories.

So enjoy that three year old throwing his shoe at you, dad! Proudly display those spaghetti and milk stains on your blouse, mom. One day, the noise  and mess will be missed.