Sunday, April 07, 2019

The Miller reality

I have come to terms that I live in a very messy zoo. Period. Four working adults, two active kids, 3 barking chihuahuas, 2 bored kittens who's main goal in their young lives is destroying what are left of the blinds and over-stuffed chairs. Carpets that are beyond repair or cleaning with spilled juice and God knows what else. Piles of dirty clothes and dirty dishes. So different from the environment that I grew up in at 5 years old with a single mom struggling to get by and my grandmother who occasionally lived with us. Oh, I could go on but that was not what I wanted to talk about this morning. 

While watching my political morning shows, I was also listening the Matt and Mason having a conversation in the front room. The front room was officially the "living room" of the house but it is now Bri and Matt's living room while David and I occupy the "back room" which was the family room where everyone watched TV. This gives us all our own space to live in without being on top of each other every night. I confess, sometimes I am a fly on the wall in my own house. Without actually listening to their conversations, I hear the tone and feeling of them. As this morning, Mason was having a serious conversation with Matt. I could tell by her tone and the way she was explaining something to him. She is very smart and articulate for a 5-year-old, always talking, always thinking, never quiet. Polar opposite to my 5 year old self, solitary and introverted. 

Sometimes, I listen to the kids while they are cooking dinner together, in a messy, loud kitchen with Mason sitting on the counter "helping" and Noah watching from the floor in her little detachable swing, also loudly cooing herself for all to hear. Talking about their day, what they did, their beliefs, their struggles and bonding with the kids. Occasionally stop flipping the burgers to go kiss the baby. I don't hear the details, but the overall feeling of this tight-knit family unit. And my heart soars with relief. 

Mason will run into the "back room" to jump on my chair, declaring it "the most comfortable chair in the entire house" while wrestling my twitter feed-filled phone from my hands so she can play a puzzle game. Saying loudly "I love you, Memaw", knowing I will not resist that and hand the phone over. 

Mason builds all sorts of stuff in the back room. Right now we have a daycare going on back here. I have to sign the kids in and out of this daycare that grows in size every day. I have to babysit the babies when Mason goes off "to work". She gives her babies a walk around the "park" in the stroller and ask me where the parking lot is and pays me imaginary money to park. It seems easier to just leave it for awhile than put it all away, as I know it will be back as soon as the last toy is in the proper storage spot.

And lots of singing. Mason knows all lyrics to all her favorite popular songs from the radio and is constantly singing them the minute she gets out of bed. Sometimes, I dig out all of my "oldies-but-goldies" on iTunes and we have a music-fest of sorts. Of course, she knows one of my favorite groups, Earth, Wind and Fire from the Trolls movie, so we have an instant favorite in common there.

Mason and David have Saturday pancake-making-mornings while the kids sleep in. She loves to cook, crack eggs and stir the batter. She and I stir up lots of brownies together. She adores David and will demand, "where is my Papa?" when we are coming home from work. They have a special bond of cooking, reading books, and playing Crazy Eights. He has bought her some crazy expensive books and the most beautiful illustrations. I am more of the "let's play electronic games" together or let's watch silly puppy videos on YouTube, so I guess between us, she gets the spectrum of entertainment.

Lots of people, friends and family ask, when are the kids moving out? And my honest answers is ... I don't know, we never consider or talk about it. In today's reality of housing and daycare cost, it does not seem prudent for them to go anywhere. Not to say we all don't have our moments of frustration, I probably have more than anyone because of the mess. But the flip-side of them not being here seems horrible. I love watching the kids learn to be good parents and us trying to learn to be grandparents, not too preachy and interfering. Of course, Mason is spoiled. She has 4 doting adults at her disposal. If someone says "no", she can meander around the house to find someone who will say "yes". And add to that, she is crazy smart. Yes, she talks back to all of us. She stands her ground on any struggle. I personally think that is a good thing for a girl. She can back up any boy to tears on the playground. Coming from a background of never being able to say anything on my mind if it was in opposition to my mom, I believe in kids having "a voice". I believe I did not have one so am especially sensitive of being able to speak your mind. Of course, there is conflict in thought, but better have a strong mind than a frightened one, as I had. 

And coming from a divorce, single childhood (until I was 12), it is particularly heartening to hear my granddaughter say "Daddy, can you ... Daddy, would you do this or that". I never had anyone who I trusted to call Dad until much later in life. I feel that was a big loss in my childhood and effected me deeply. When I hear Mason say "Daddy, will you read me a book, or make me a sandwich, or get me some cookies?", tears literally come to my eyes. It is such a simple thing to have a "daddy" in the same house, but it does not always happen to many kids in this world. 

The Miller new reality if very messy. Sometimes, very dirty. Very hectic. Very loud. Very chaotic. Very fun. Lots of recycle needing to go out. Lots of barking. Lots of crying. Lots of dirty clothes. But also, lots of love and tenderness. Lots of conversations going on about life and learning between the kids and their kids. I love being a fly on the wall in my own house. 


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