Whenever you’re near, I hear a symphony…


Thankful Thursday this week (actually on a Thursday for a change, how do you like that?) is brought to you by my children, whose patience in the midst of my recently heavy workload earned them a night of carrying on, singing at the top of their lungs, bathroom words aplenty, and no-holds barred Mexican train dominos.

Let me explain.

I had a boatload of deadline driven work this week for which I am very thankful, of course. The work, however, put me in a tough spot as a parent. There’s nothing I like less than my children having to look at the back my head all day, while the front of it is glued to the computer screen. Not that the back of my head isn’t attractive (I’ve never looked), but it just doesn’t wear that expression of love and interest of its feature-filled counterpart on the front, except maybe on a bad hair day that’s particularly bad.

The kicker is that when the work ship pulls in to port, it tends to be at the least convenient times, like during the children’s summer break, in the week of a thousand appointments, or during the two-week vacation that’s pre-paid and has been planned for months (my poor friend Andie finds herself in that predicament; I hope there’s WiFi in the Outer Banks). What I’ve learned is that, despite my strange bent toward skipping all meals, eschewing all social contact, and locking myself into an attention-sucking techno-marathon to get all the work done, I need to “break it up” as it were, with kid-oriented activities (like bowling!), stress-relieving errands (like a walk to the bank!), and even a couple of personal diversions that really are fun for the whole family (fresh baked brownies, bring it on home!!!).

I’m thankful that yesterday all the plates stayed beautifully in the air. I worked. We went to tennis. I showered. We visited the grandparents. I had lunch with a friend. I worked. The kids returned with the grandparents. I finished work and actually ate dinner. I worked a little bit more. Then I pulled out the dominos.

My husband was out, so sadly he missed the most raucous domino game of all time. There was so much hooting, tooting, burping, wailing, singing, and hand-drumming, that at one point I had to sing out a la The Supremes, “Whenever you’re ne-ar, I hear a SYM-phony…burp, zweep, honk, fart!” at which point Jake’s lemonade went somewhere seriously up his nose. This opened us up into several molto fortissimo renditions of “Eye of the Tiger,” that cheesy ’80’s rock anthem to which my children know all the words, thanks to a little game called Rock Band.

Never before have my children had the unbridled opportunity to vent their nervous energy by belting out whatever popped into their heads. They stood on chairs, danced like Chuck Berry, made faces, sang, screamed, cheered, and dispelled that toxic pent-up pressure that surely would have landed them in trouble at any other time.

I’m glad, because in the rock, paper, scissors of family life, noise may not always be appropriate, but lemonade up the nose wins every single time.



  1. Monica said,

    July 30, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing this story. Would have loved you to video tape it for us to share in the fun. 🙂
    Last night, Chris took Douglas outside in the pouring rain for him to jump and splash around. The view from the window was hillarious. Imagine a little figure getting soaked and running around like crazy. 🙂

  2. Cheryl said,

    July 30, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Actually, I think I have a video of a soaked, running around kid–it was from one of Jake’s birthdays. After the party he just danced back and forth in the puddles all alone outside the house.

    In fact, when Jake was just a baby, I remember watching a neighbor’s grandchildren doing some puddle SWIMMING (!) after a particularly heavy rainstorm. I thought, what a cool grandma! So now I think, Monica–what a cool Mom!

  3. Lorraine said,

    July 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Mexican Train Dominoes is a whole new world to me. I think I’ll have to get Jake and Hayley to teach it to us!
    This month (July) Sth Oz has had some rain, actually we’ve have a whole month of Winter and yards are looking green.( I’m amazed that our lawns have revived themselves, after water restrictions all Summer we had dry, brown barren bits of ground and now we have green. ) Anyway back to the point…we have had whole families dancing in the rain! The weather bureau won’t say our drought has broken yet but farmers are smiling for the first time in about 5 years! At school we’ve had lots of “wet weather” recess (morning break) and lunchtimes where the kids and I stand at the window and will the rain to stop for the next 20 minutes! Yesterday we thought we were going to get recess so some classes had already made it outside when the heavens opened. There were about 6 eight year olds on the play equipment having an absolute ball. Totally oblivious to the rain. A torrential downpour was not going to stop them having fun! I felt rather mean, as the closest teacher, having to send them back to their class. One of the joys of teaching… sharing a small room with 30 wet, steaming children! Actually my class had quite a bit of fun yesterday, our heater had a major meltdown. Smoke…bad smell of burning… evacuate the room…I was a bit worried I might zap myself turning it off but all was okay. The techos came and went and need a part so who knows how long we”l be without heating! Ah, I LOVE being a teacher.

  4. Cheryl said,

    July 31, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I love how you say ‘techos’!!!! You’ll teach me some new Aussie slang when you get here, right?

    I find that here our community complains about the drought, until the rain comes, at which point we complain about the rain. This is certainly one of those “and the little children shall lead them” kinds of things, don’t you think?

  5. Lorraine said,

    July 31, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    My hairdresser, who’s about 30, was standing looking out the window at the rain last Thursday night. Then, hands on hips, she turned around and said on a sigh, “I’m so over Winter!” We’ve only had July as Winter (June was pretty dry and warm).
    Good news! The heater part was “in stock” the techos came back Friday morning and fixed the heater! No icicles in classroom!

  6. Cheryl said,

    August 1, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Hooray for heat!!!

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