When I was child I had 2 best friends. One best friend lived around the corner. My friend and I from our bedroom windows would signal to each other with torches after bedtime. We even made up our own morse code! I just loved going to her house. It was such a contrast from my own. Noisy, chaotic very loud with random friends running up and down the stairs like a herd of small elephants. Pile’s of clean washing everywhere, it smelt of washing detergent and cooked meal’s, it smelt warm and inviting. And there was always a drama going on. My friends mum who I adored worked nights as a nurse so from her bed she would be holding court trying as you do as a mum to be everything to everyone.
Obviously sometimes as I rang the door bell and patiently waited it wasn’t always so inviting.. Huge rows would explode and as more people were galvanised it would escalate. A simple disagreement about a remote control could develop into World War 3.
My other friends house was different. Her mum was infatuated with cleaning. Every kitchen counter, every surface gleaming with Mr Pledge. Her house smelt like a swimming pool in the kitchen of bleach and other cleaning products. They had 6 of them squeezed into a small three bedroom house and she kept it immaculate. Friends would walk in and out of the back door politely nodding to her mum. She was like a machine truly now my hero. How she did it on her own while working Ill never know.
She wasn’t infalable though a heavy smoker ( it was the 80’s) she’d lock her self into the toilet the only room with a lock with these huge novels and stay there. Now years on I understand that need to escape so well. I did love going there and some of my best memories are of my friend and I playing in her garden shed with our babies and her mum’s old Silver Cross Pram.
So now I have a large family, four children, a dog and 2 cats. I only had one sister who I love and who is my best friend. If I could clone her and make 2 more I would. Our family home although loving was so much quieter than our friends. We both had lots of friends but it was never chaotic and if friends visited theyd quite often have to raise their feet as my Mum vacuumed underneath……. So I don’t think its any coincident that I had four and she had three.
The animals follow me round the kitchen until I give in to their silent demands. Sitting by the food cupboard waiting….. The dog with soulful, black sad eyes, looks at me like she’s never been fed! The cats, their cool green calculated eyes staring at me and even scratching at the toilet door till I admit defeat.
Our house is chaotic, doorbell ringing with friends trudging upstairs to Hang Out. Piles of shoes discarded by the front door as putting them in the Ikea rack I purchased is just too hard!! I walk around flushing toilets, wiping hand prints off windows, picking up socks, picking yogurt pots out of bin and depositing in recycling. The washing monster is never far away and whole piles of clothes are hidden from visitors in our garage. The four of them go from mass hilarity high pitched screaming like dolphins in a pod and racing around (the dog included) to screaming just how unfair life is, hating everyone and slamming doors.
They are like puppies rolling around, jumping and scrambling all over one another till one goes too far and bites an ear then gets angry..As a mother of four daughters nothing is sacred. You have no possessions.
My parents when they visit from their calm, quiet haven of serenity always comment. We drink more at your house than we do all ! As I feel having a few lowers their blood pressure and softens the senses. So Im there filling up their glasses with a smile.
But my house isn’t minimal it isn’t like something out of a magazine. I constantly light candles to mask the scent of those shoes by the door or last nights dinner. Ours is a home where everything tells a story. Its our family history, who we are. To become instagram ready takes an enormous amount of work and filters…
Fridge magnets boasting holiday memories, plastic letters some spelling BUM and POO litter the fridge. A small watering can made by Daisy for Mothers Day. Memories, trinkets, photos, books all making up who we are and where we belong. Dirty dog towel by front foot, TV on, moody teenager vacantly swiping Tic Toc videos..
And although I yearn for that lock on the toilet door, and dream about just once sitting on the toilet and not finding an empty cardboard tube.
For toothpaste to be squeezed from the bottom, to not get in the shower to discover all the conditioner has been used, and just ONCE someone else to feed the friggin animals. Its my home and I secretly wouldn’t change it x
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One response to “The thing about having a big family……”
Made me chuckle
I have 2 brothers the older one teasing me to the point I’d have a fit and throw something. Generally when playing games and he’d wind me up and Kieran who I tried to mother. I’d take him places!
It was generally me stuck in the middle causing most noise! I always wanted a sister but I consider all my girl mates as sisters inc you.
I always wanted 4 kids while I have one and Elle who is such a baby following me everywhere, your so lucky to have such lovely girls x great read as ever
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