Monday, August 31, 2015

A Clump of Kids

My wife was visiting a friend for the weekend. Friday, I had a clump of kids at our house. (That's the new term, at least for me. You know: a flock of birds; a school of fish; a murder of crows; a clump of kids.) There was going to be a sleepover. The girls were not invited to stay for the sleepover with the boys, in case you were wondering, but I did invite them to stay for dinner.

Pizza, you know... You just have order another one. I like simplicity. (I also drink "Afternoon Tea" in the morning. I'm crazy that way. Carpe Teaum.) Also, I like that the guy at our local pizza shop actually calls me "Goombah."

As the kids gorged themselves on besauced and becheesed carbs, I retreated to the adjacent room with a few purloined slices to watch a TV show. They were loud. Very loud. The presence of girls who are my sons' friends -- and who are delightfully rough-and-tumble with the lads, woods-tromping and ball-throwing and all that -- can really crank up the ambient decibels, let me tell you. I put on the "closed captioning" so I could follow the peril of Captain Archer's Enterprise without yelling at the kids to, as they say in Bugs Bunny gangster cartoons, "shet ep."

Yeah, it was a tad frustrating. They were really loud and I felt like a bit of a prisoner in my own home, but they were having a great time being ridiculously silly. And loud. Not sure if I mentioned how loud they were being.

As they finished demolishing the pizza and they were moving the party out to the back yard, one of the girls said to one of my sons, "Your family is really nice."

After dark, out in the yard for a marshmallow roast (read: waving around of flaming sticks in the dark), it hit me again, as it often has: being a parent, in the eyes of those who are committed to never being parents, seems like too much sacrifice of personal space, time and silence. It is a sacrifice of all of those things. But I am not the first philosophical type to point out that sacrifice can pay a fee to one's heart: The next day, after their friends left, my sons said, in unison, "Thanks for the sleepover, Dad." Hugs followed.

And it's not too shabby to hear one of your sons' friends say, "Your family is really nice." I want my sons friends to want to hang out at our house, now and into the future. If you have to ask why, you don't keep up with the news...

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