Grand Central Station

What do you think this is – Grand Central Station?”

I clearly remember my mother screaming this exact line at us kids on numerous occasions when we were growing up.

My parents had 8 children.  In 9 years.  I was the oldest.

In the days before they divorced, and life as we knew it changed forever, and not in a good way, we lived a crazy kids life of running in and out of our house with the gang of kids who we grew up with in our neighborhood.  We also ran in and out of the houses of our friends.  We biked and roller skated and played tag and war and cowboys and Indians and board games and went to the neighborhood pool in the Summertime.

I’m sure we drove our mothers crazy with the running in and out and banging doors.  We played hard, but it was all unscheduled fun unlike how we have raised our kids.

I don’t remember us kids ever telling our mother that we were bored, but I’m sure we did.  I do know that if we did, we would have been given a chore to do.  That is what I have done with my own kids.  If they ever complained about being bored, I gave them a job.

I have been thinking about my mother’s line for the last 19 days.  Actually, I have been hearing it in my head for the last 19 days.  That’s because it has felt like Grand Central Station around our home.

We had a few blissful months as empty nesters.  Our home was peaceful and quiet.  Our home was clean and neat and tidy all the time.  We had normal day / night sleep schedules.

The past 19 days, we have moved three kids home from college.  We have had one graduate and then had a grad party.  We have managed to squeeze in DSH’s birthday, Mother’s Day, and our anniversary in between having various extra kids coming over to visit as well as stay overnight.

The washer and dryer and dishwasher have been running non-stop.  We have luggage and boxes and totes everywhere.  We have bags of clothes and personal items put together to take to Goodwill – part of the cycle of going through things as the kids move out and back into our home.

We’ve also made a trip to Indiana to get our newly graduated kid set up with her first apartment, and our dining room is filled with the stuff she needs to start life on her own.

And we have managed to continue taking care of the normal stuff like mowing the lawn, paying the bills, and doing our volunteer stuff.

Sleep deprivation has set in.  I don’t remember having the nocturnal, vampire schedule enjoyed by my children when I was their age.

It has been great fun meeting some of the kids who have spent the last 9 months (and four years) with our daughters.  We have had two of them spend the night with us as they have made their way across a multi-state region on the way home or to a Summer internship.

We have had two weekends of sorority sisters and friends staying with us to attend parties and baseball games and weddings in our hometown.

It has been total chaos.  Yes, it has been like Grand Central Station around here.

And while it has been great fun I have to admit it.  I am exhausted, and I am looking forward to a return to the peacefulness and quiet of our empty nest home.

In a few months.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying time with my kids and their friends.

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