I mentioned Chaos Thursday yesterday. Nobody asked, but I thought it deserved a little more explanation. Thursday night is choir and handbell practice. I like to participate in both. I grew up singing in the church and school choirs, and during those times in my life when I was unable to fit it in, I have really missed it. I’m no star, and both groups would likely go on just fine if I couldn’t make it, but I get a lot out of it. I would hate to give it up. But kids really make it difficult. Back when the big birdie kids were very small, I just couldn’t work it out. Daddy Bird has commitments on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and just can’t get home in time for the switch off. One year we tried taking them to the church for rehearsal and having Daddy pick them up there. There was only about 20 minutes they were relatively unsupervised, but my kids are, well, high energy kids. There wasn’t a whole lot of actual handbell rehearsing getting done until the kids were out of there.
So I didn’t get to make my joyful noises for the delight of the congregation for several years. That was a shame for the unintended consequence of our more infrequent attendance, as well. Then my parents realized we weren’t going to leave our comfortable church home and join the church they’d chosen when they moved back to the area, despite the fact that it is almost literally across the street from us in our new home. So, three years ago Mom and Dad joined our church just as we were building a wonderful new sanctuary, hiring a very talented organist, and installing a fancy expensive organ. And guess what? Dad needs to be part of a choir, too. It’s part of who he is, so Holy Trinity gained a new baritone (or bass, or tenor, whatever we need). My brother sings tenor, so he joined us as well. BAM! A choir of 20 or so grows by three!
But that doesn’t solve the Thursday night problem. How do I get to practice while the kiddies (now three of them) get supervised, fed, bathed, and bedded? Enter Grandma! So, Chaos Thursday was born. On Thursdays my parents come to my house around 2:30 PM. We make dinner together, Grandpa picks up the big kids from school. We spend the afternoon together. There are after school snacks to be served, homework to be done, piano lessons to be practiced. The Baby Bird is thrilled with all these playmates, and insists that both grandparents play at least four rounds of hide-n-seek. Each. Grandma almost always brings brownies, or cupcakes, or cookies, or some other nonsense. At 5:00, my brother shows up for his free meal, and we eat. We miss the Daddy Bird, but we eat together as one big family. It’s wonderful and stressful and a little frightening.
Then at 6:00, my dad and I take off for handbells. My brother helps entertain the big kids while my mom cleans the kitchen and gets the little fellow bathed and ready for bed. Brother joins us in time for choir. Daddy Bird makes it home around 7:30 to take over homework checking and putting the bigs to bed. My dad drops me at home around 9:00 and the house is picked up, the kids are in bed, or close to it, and all is well.
I think the chaos of the afternoon and dinner are part of the fun, but I’m always glad to leave. My mother swears the children all turn into peaceful sweet angels the minute I walk out the door, but she’s Grandma and her reports are suspect. Handbell and choir practices, with all grown-ups, seem like a mini-vacation every week. And I’m committed to show up most Sundays, family in tow. Grandma helps out again by sitting with them during the service.
Now it’s Friday. The little guy is at preschool, which he attends on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. I have my usual homework due on Sunday night at midnight, but I’ve only barely begun it, as usual. So after school today I will hustle the kids home from school and separate them. No homework for them means one can play video games (please, please hold it together at school today, Middle Bird, so I don’t have to take them away for the afternoon!), one can read to her heart’s content, and the Baby Bird will be bribed with marginally appropriate television, juice, and Girl Scout cookies.
Chaos Thursday, with any luck, is followed by Semi-Peaceful Friday. With LUCK! Wish me luck.