Mamaw called during one of those moments today.
You know those moments--the ones where the toddler has decided that he simply cannot live without a fresh sippy of water, the baby has realized there are bananas on the counter and by golly, he's howling mad-hungry! and the older kids seem to have forgotten Family Rule Number 431, which clearly states that no lightsaber duels shall take place on the grounds between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
In other words, it was utter chaos.
Utter, absolute, no-way-around it chaos.
I answered the phone the second that I saw who was calling, and she was greeted to a cacophony of noise the likes of which are rarely heard outside of rock concerts.
I greeted her, then took twenty seconds or so to set everything to rights. Oli got his cup. Manolin was served a banana. And the older three were sent off, properly scolded, to redeem themselves with a handful of extra chores designed to keep their hands busy and their mouths shut. Then--silence. Blessed silence.
"You busy, Baby? You got time to talk to me?" she asked. "Because I just heard some awful things people were sayin' about Kirk Cameron and Hitler."
What, pray tell, makes you think I'm too busy for that?
It had been a true "you've got your hands full" moment. They don't happen all that often. It's pretty rare, actually. Maybe it's because I don't have five kids neatly spaced at the every-twenty-months rate. Maybe it's because I just have a really low threshold for noise in general, so it's simply not allowed. Maybe it's because Jo is more help than hindrance at this point. Whatever the reason, it's an odd day that finds me screaming, in Grinch fashion, "One thing I can't take! All the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!"
My Mamaw, though, noted the moment. She truly can't conceive of a house with a half dozen or so kids in it because, well ... she only had three. So the way she figures it, my life must be hers 50 years ago, doubled.
As I tried to calm her concerns ("Honey, you need to take good care of yourself. Put some movies on for those babies. Ain't nobody hurt by them watchin' cartoons for an hour."), something most unexpected happened: my children were systematically abducted by aliens, who sucked out their brains and implanted naughty, unacceptable behaviors into their minds.
It started with Atticus, who is honestly most prone to oblivion and therefore most likely to miss the fact that mommy is on the phone.
"Momma! Mom! Look! I found it!"
"Atticus! I am on the phone. Go to your room for interrupting."
Kid one sulked away.
Two seconds later:
"Mom! You said to use the lemon oil, and all I can find is--"
This would be Logan, who got the same treatment.
Three minutes into a pleasant conversation:
"Mom! You moved my book! Where's my booooook?"
Jo was yelling from the top of the stairs. I asked my grandmother to kindly hold for a second while I shot nasty glares at my daughter and used the hand signal that means "I am so mad that you did that, I can't even put it into words. Sit on your bed until I can talk to you."
Naturally, the two little ones were putting on a show. Oliver was tackling Manolin, who retaliated with his brand new trick of biting his big brother on the arm. He was quite proud of himself, right up until the moment when I swooped him up and deposited him in his crib for a cool-down. Oli was howling, writhing on the floor, and generally letting us know--with some indignance--that this behavior simply could not stand. I tried to silence him with a hug, a cuddle, even a pumpkin muffin.
Then, the pièce de résistance: the other line beeped.
Mamaw burst into laughter.
"You're probably cookin', too, right?" she asked.
I eyed the stove, guiltily, where I had been starting the prep for our lunch of mini-pizzas on English muffins just before the phone rang. I sighed heavily.
Mamaw started humming a song I vaguely remembered as she laughed.
"Here in Topeka, the screen door's a' bangin'," she giggled.
"An old, old Loretta Lynn song. You look that up on your computer when you get to sit a spell. I think you'll like it."
We got off the phone. Life settled. Lunch was made and eaten. I headed to my computer for my afternoon work session while the children rested. I googled. And I found this:
Which clearly, clearly was written by someone who understands what it's like to be a mom.
It gave me a laugh today--almost as big of a laugh as I got from hearing my Mamaw grow faintly wistful at the thought of babies clinging to her skirts.