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     We are officially "That Family".  You may know us better by our other names; names like "The Late Ones", "The Loud Bunch", or even (dare I say) "The Dirty Gang". We are the family that arrives to church frazzled and harried, still trying to catch their breath by the second worship song and spit-washing that pesky coffee stain that got spilled somewhere between the 3rd diaper change and the 2nd tantrum. We are the family that enters a restaurant and can have you calling "Check, please!" within 10 minutes of our arrival. We are the family that tells you that we'll try to be there by noon, but that is fully subject to change based on the day's ever-changing nursing schedule, everyone and their uncle forgetting to brush their teeth/get their potties out/put on underwear/etc., OR the toddler's nap (because God knows you NEVER wake a sleeping toddler, even if he fell asleep upside down and buck naked... just put down a rubber sheet and pray he survives, but DON'T WAKE THE TODDLER!).
     I hate to say it, but I'm part of "That Family" that I always dreaded when I saw them in public. In fact, I'm not only a part of them, I lead them... I'm a co-founder of The Crazy Bunch, struggling to stay afloat (and just a little bit sane) as each day brings on a whole new set of humbling, chaotic, and messy events. (Although if you have complaints, feel free to address them to my business partner - AKA Husband, thanks!)
     This weekend, I ambitiously set up and tackled a garage sale (better known as "Hey! Let's spend hours doing a ton of work and then sitting here for another FULL DAY in order to make $35 AND still have a garage full of stuff that you simply don't want!" Sale). Only five weeks out from my C-Section, and still a bit sore and easily tired, I found myself wondering what sort of mind-warping drug someone could have slipped me to think a garage sale was a good idea. Because surely someone in their right mind wouldn't attempt such lunacy with a newborn, incredibly active toddler, and two older (yet equally active and mischievous) siblings. Throw in two cousins, two in-laws, and a grandma and you've got sheer madness! I was so exhausted that when I came out of my room from feeding the baby, my 8-year-old son assessed my appearance and said, "Um, Mom? Your shirt is kind of up...." I looked down and noticed that my long tunic was actually tucked up under my nursing bra.... which I hadn't even bothered to re-attach apparently. Beautiful. What if it had been the mail man that got an eye full, for crying out loud? Nothing says "That Family" like a little under-boob accompanied by a stretch-marked kangaroo pouch!
     And even on Sunday, the blessed day of rest, it takes our brood hours... literally, hours.... to get ready and arrive at church "on time". Each Sunday I find that I arrive sweatier and hungrier than the week before. And I'm not sure what it is about the House of the Lord, but every time I arrive, I am suddenly and painfully aware of the fact that I haven't had time to move my bowels in the last three-five days and that, right before I'm supposed to start leading worship, this is a deed that needs immediate attention! Needless to say, I'm even late for church once I'm already in the building! Then, once we finally are settled in, all children in their seats, Husband corralling the toddler, and Mama entering the third song of the worship set, Littlest Man starts crying. Uh oh. Because a nursing mother knows what that means. I mean, she knows what that means.... because suddenly there's an river flowing, not from the floodgates of Heaven, but from her swelling bosoms. And she knows there's still two and a half songs to go before she can calm her baby and relieve her aches, and pretty soon she finds herself hunching lower behind the piano, you know, just in case her leaks become "obvious" to the rest of the congregation.
     Finally, after having "survived church", one of us has the brilliant idea to take the family out for lunch! (I really must find out who is lacing my coffee....) And not only are we going to put an entire restaurant out, but we are going to invite our friend to join us for an unrelaxing, frantic lunch. Not that I was able to enjoy my friend's company, since I was busy feeding the baby in the van while the rest of "That Family Plus One" went into the restaurant. But not to worry, my clan made up for it by dripping salsa on her, licking tortilla chips and placing them back in the bowl, running through the restaurant and trying to climb on tables, crying uncontrollably (sometimes in surround sound if both the baby AND the toddler got going at the same time), and talking incessantly. To top off the meal, we let her sit in the way back of the van (the seat that "has a seat belt" but that no one larger than an anorexic munchkin can actually use), in between the 6-year-old and 8-year-old, with the two smaller ones in the row separating her from the adult conversation up front (which really only consisted of talking about naps and diapers anyway). Once inside the car, Husband chipperly announces, "Hey, that was fun!" (Obviously he's taking the pills, too....). All the while, I sat there wondering if I should run back into the restaurant and offer to pay for everyone else's meals, and if my newly-wed friend would still want to have children after this lunch was over....
     So, yes, we are "That Family", and we may accidentally spill our craziness on your carpet or talk a little too loudly in your direction while out in public. And for this, we are sorry. But "That Family" is My Family and, for better or for worse, we're stuck with each other... and we probably won't be any less crazy for a good many years still. Maybe we yell more than we should, and the occasional item gets thrown across the room in sheer frustration, or maybe we're just so tired that we stop bathing for a while. But maybe that's okay. Because right now, all my kids are blessedly sleeping while Hubby is out mowing the lawn, and I find myself having just a few moments where things are Still.... Quiet.... Peaceful. And I think that it will all be alright. Who needs cloth napkined restaurants with their 6 forks, or watches that are just a constant reminder that you're failing at that whole Time thing yet again? Who needs that when you can have my life? Yes, I do believe it's all gonna be alright.