Saturday, March 7, 2020

Welcome to My Circus

Welcome to My Circus
By: Kelli J Gavin 
For The Writer's Offering

I am at a loss for words.  I didn't even know what to do
first. Where I should start?  I slept in today. Oh, a
glorious extra hour. I have been so tired, not sleeping
well and I was reveling last night at even the idea of a
much needed, long sleep.  I don't know what I was
thinking. I am a mother of 5. Let me repeat that. 5 kids.
Our house is what I like to refer to as organized chaos.

More of a focus on chaos than organized. The hour of
extra sleep that I was so looking forward to, became
something I would regret, the moment I heard the crash
at 7:32 a.m.  And when I say crash, I mean more like
the sound of an explosion. Not a single sound that only
lasts a moment. More of a cacophony of echoed
crashing that never seemed to end. I bolted upright in
bed.  What was that?! Was I dreaming or did I actually
hear a disaster happening just one floor below my
bedroom? I swung my legs over the side of the bed and
listened. And sure enough, the screaming and crying
started immediately.  

"MOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!" Etna, my oldest had this
way of calling me when there was a real problem.
Almost as if the elongation and volume of MOM was
the indicator to me that there was really a serious
problem on the main floor rather than just calling me
because someone was lazy and wanted a glass of water,
with ice cubes, crushed, not whole. 

I grabbed my robe as my see through holey night gown
was such a painful sight, that my kids would easily find
yet another thing to make fun of.  I quickly opened the
bedroom door, only to find the screaming and crying
and one of my kids losing their mind, only increase in
volume. Did they hear me open the door and chose to
make it worse than it already was?  I descended the
stairs maybe only hitting one or two of the stairs as I
had become an expert and scaling whole flights when
everything seemed to fall apart quickly.  

I rounded the corner and wished I was still in bed.  The
baby sat painting the wood floor with the honey that
had been spilled when the plastic container hit the floor.
My 5 year old sat next to the baby eating raisins and
offering them to the baby. My 8 year old was sitting in
a pile on the floor holding his ankle like death was
pending. And then I saw the mess.  Or the war zone as
I will now refer to it from this day forward. From what
I can deduce, my 8 year old attempted to climb the
shelves in the pantry to reach the upper cabinet where
the kid sugar cereals reside. Said 8 year old, almost 9,
had failed to realize that the shelves would never hold
him and decided climbing the shelves rather than
locating a chair was the best means of acquiring said
kid sugar cereal.  When the five shelves crashed down
to the floor, the contents they held followed, and my
eight year old fell to the floor screaming. My 10 year
old was still sitting in front of the TV in the living
room completely oblivious of the chaos that surrounded
her. And Etna. Sweet, 14 year old Etna, stood next to
the kitchen sink crying her eyes out in a state of
disbelief at what just happened while she was in
charge of her siblings.  

But was Etna really in shock? Because let's face it. 
This crap happened all the time at our house. Hands
stuck in mouse traps, dog poop on the walls, chocolate
syrup squeezed on couch cushions. Etna was crying
because she knew I would need her help cleaning up
the mess.  Everyone stopped crying when they realized
I was in the room. I grabbed the baby and handed her
to Etna. I told her to strip the baby and give her a bath
in the kitchen sink. I washed my 5 year old's hands and
sent him to watch TV with the 10 year old.  I met eyes
with my 8 year old and knew right away that he was
okay. Maybe a bruise or minor sprain, but we weren't
dealing with gushing blood or protruding bones. I
wiped his tears, kissed him on top of his head and
picked him up off the floor from his messy food pile. I
wiped cracker crumbs off of his pants and removed a
stray crouton or two from his toes.  I told him no more
gymnastics in the kitchen, to always locate a chair or
ask for help. He smiled at me, I ushered him into the
living room with an ice pack from the freezer for his
ankle to also watch TV. 

Leaning into Etna as she thoroughly washed the baby in
the sink, I kissed her shoulder.  What would I do
without this precious girl, my first born? My helper, my
sweet girl. "Thank you, Etna."

"Mom, I am sorry, you didn't get to sleep in. I... I tried."
 Etna apologized.

"Et, it is okay. You know your brother.  He is my
climber. What can I say. And a hungry climber."  I took
the baby and dried her thoroughly with a clean towel
from the drawer, wrangled a new diaper onto her and
placed her in the high chair.  Etna quickly followed
behind with Cheerios in hand and placed them on the

"Come and eat!" Etna shouted as she pulled bowls from
the cabinet and milk from the fridge.  Her long arms
easily grabbed three of the desired kid sugar cereals
from the upper cabinet so that each child would be able
to choose their favorite.  

Children being fed, I started to tackle the mess of all of
our pantry food lying on the kitchen floor. “Alexa. Play
violin music.” We needed some calm to be added to our

No, I didn't get to sleep in, but had a very successful
purge of all of the shelf stable food and now my floors
are super clean from sweeping, scrubbing and mopping.
So there's that. Maybe tomorrow the desired and elusive
sleep will be had.  But until then, I still need to figure
out clothing for my brood and activities for this hot day. 

These are my monkeys. Welcome to my circus. 

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