Welcome to Chickadee Junction

Welcome to Chickadee Junction

I have birdfeeders outside of my office window. My office is in my home, up on a hill, surrounded by trees. The most frequent avian visitors are the chickadees. When the feeders are empty, they come to the window and let me know. They seem to converge here, and draw my attention out...

I wrote a column about life with children for six years. Now I am the grandmother, and I would like to repost those stories. I will also be adding thoughts and reflections, and if inspired - stories from the now.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Full Moons and...

As we approach the holidays, hearts and thoughts turn to family...

My side of the family recently held a family reunion.  Twenty-one kids, aged six weeks to eleven years, and twenty-one adults, spent two days in the woods.  All together.

My parents borrowed a huge cabin in a clearing.  We descended and surrounded it with campers and tents.  Inside the cabin were two bedrooms, one with a big bed, the other with bunks.

As twilight encroached and marshmallow torches lit the evening sky, my siblings regressed and we fought for dibs on the double bed.  Two of my sisters won.  Their husbands slept out, but one pregnant belly and one small baby kept my sisters in.  Dad and I won the consolation prize - the pull out couch in the living room.

The eight to eleven year old crowd decided to sleep out.  The girls unfurled sleeping bags in the mesh tent/mess hall.  Two boys made their nests right outside - not close enough to be with the girls, just close enough to harass.

Contingency plans were issued:

Boys, if you change your mind, you will go to the camper with Aunt Ginger.  Do you understand? (Aunt Ginger did agree to this.  We did not coerce, force or bribe her in any way!)

Girls, you will go to the bunk beds.  If you are going to talk, keep it down.  And no scary stories.

I finally eased my youngest boys into slumber on couches, then prepared my bed.  The sleeper sofa, when pulled out, took up the entire living room.  An adult could sidle to the room my sisters claimed.  If anyone tried to walk past the bottom of the mattress, bruised shins attested to the presence of a coffee table.  Once settled, everyone was pretty much confined to where they were.

Ah, sleep at last.  For about an hour...when we were shocked from oblivion by five shrieking children.  The boys headed straight for the bunks to secure them before the girls could.  A coffee table attack on the knees set up a howl which woke the dead - me, and my baby.

"To the camper!  Go to the camper!"  I thought I was shouting.  But the boys fought off the coffee table in a frenzied battle and made it to the bunkroom.  There they loudly discussed who should get the top bunk.

Mommy wisdom sprung from my brain and out of my mouth.  "Both of you get the top!  Go to bed.  Be quiet."

While the boys were settling, the girls were trying to find a place to camp.  They found it.  They lined up across the kitchen floor.  Knowing what that would add to morning chaos, I decided not to care.

I had finally come to enough to sit up and demand,  "What are you doing in here?  You all wanted to sleep out.  It's gonna be fun.  Remember?"

"Full moon...monster man...full moon...chopped to bits...and it's a full moon out there!"

"No scary stories.  Don't you remember the rule?  Who is making this stuff up?"

"He is!"  Three accusing fingers pointed at a very sheepish Dad.  Hope he enjoyed the full moon.

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