Saturday, December 26, 2009

There are 20 people in this house...

Tis the day after Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature is stirring... except for four kids under the age of 8, two grandparents, and this blogger.

The Christmas toys are strewn about the house with glee, and the children are making suchaclatter. Hideous elevator music blaring from the electric keyboard is competing with SpongeBob SquarePants on the television. And all is right with the world.

I sit here quietly with my MacBook, enjoying the sounds of family. Sure, in another 5 or 10 minutes I will be driven completely insane and will have one more headache-inducing reminder - now there are two keyboards competing with SpongeBob and each other - of why I never want to procreate, but for now, I am listening to the cacophony produced by some of my youngest cousins, and loving the warm, fuzzy sensation that being with family at Christmas brings.

In addition to the four kids currently conducting a symphony of plastic fork and spoon clacking while waiting for breakfast, the aforementioned grandparents, and this blogger, there are (all under one modest roof): my parents, 7 uncles and aunts, and 4 additional cousins younger than I.

The children have now transitioned to a spirited discussion about "bad" words. It seems that the K-word tops their list. What is that, you ask? As I have just heard my 7-year-old cousin, T.I., explain very seriously to the 5-year-old twin girls and his little sister, the K-word is spelled "K-R-A-P," and it is serious business. I suppose I shall have to remember not to use the K-word in their presence. I'd hate to sully their innocent little minds with my horrible potty-mouth. Okay, I admit to using much worse than the K-word, but definitely not around them. After all, I'm not a horrible person; children just aren't my favorite people.

Have I shocked you? Are you now thinking that I am a horrible person, and wondering how anyone could not like children? I suppose the warm fuzzies I mentioned earlier have just worn off a little. It's not that I'm an evil witch who'd like to suck the lives out of all the children, or a grinch who simply thinks they should be seen and not heard, I just like them in small doses. I like being able to hand them back to their parents when they begin screaming and crying. And the thought of having to take care of something that cannot verbalize its basic needs terrifies me more than those Australian spiders that eat birds.

That's enough of that tangent. Back to the 20 people in this house. The house has always been rather full to the gills. My grandparents had 5 boys, and now they've all grown up and started their own families, of course. When Christmas comes, all of these families descend on my grandparents' house for a few days of wonderful chaos. I can call it wonderful because my family travels with our own oasis: a pickup camper where we can escape for some of that silent, holy night. Peace, quiet, and electric blankets make it much easier to survive this magical time of year. And each morning, we come back in the house for our fill of pancakes and sausage balls and family togetherness.

As much as I complain about the noise and the mess, it will be a sad day indeed when there aren't 20 people in this house at Christmas. I love the crowded living room on Christmas night, with the floor covered in shreds of carefully chosen colorful wrapping paper, and the air filled with sound effects - electronic and self-produced - to go with new toys. I love the mantle covered with so many stockings that, when the stocking are filled, it looks like the wall might come down. I love the homemade food, the games of Uno and dominoes, the political discussions, and even fighting for time in the bathroom.

Christmas only comes once a year, and I wouldn't trade a single minute of it for anything.

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