The big squeeze-o-rama


We’ve always been a family of 5 in this house. 2 parents and 3 sons. Then the sons started to leave home in their 20’s and when we had only 1 of them left at home, my in-laws moved in so we could help take care of my mother-in-love who had Alzheimers. That lasted nearly 4 years, just the 5 of us. Parents, parents and one son.
Then the parents’ parents left us – Dad first with a stroke, and Mom to a nursing home when her Alz got worse and worse.
The youngest son married 6 years ago and we’ve settled into all that goes with ‘Empty Nesters’. We develop habits and rituals that go with our work schedules – he does this and she does that, you know . . . patterns emerge and work out so well that we don’t have to even say much out loud. We talk in looks and raised eyebrows and expressions – a language that only people who have been married 41 years can understand. And we laugh a lot. Most everything is anticipated with a joyful smile. In short – we have reached the stage where whatever comes out of his mouth is gonna’ make me laugh. Life is good!
Enter the need for middle son, wife, and grandkids to move in while waiting for their new house rental to be available come mid-August. Yes, life is still good – didn’t I say grandchildren were involved?? I mean, there’s nothing like having a little brown eyed blonde 2 year old single step down the stairs in the morning, hair askew and sleep in her eyes asking, “Where’s Mama?” (Mama’s in the basement, but I see no need to tell her that without extracting payment in the form of a snuggle!)
Today, Svea rode on the lawn mower with me while I finished the mowing. I took her, Bjorn and Derek up in the woods in the Mule and rode the trail several times.
I give them ice cream . . .
We are making memories. I told Dane I want them to say, “Remember how much fun we had when we lived with grandma & grandpa that summer?
But adding 6 more people to the settled patterns has been an adventure, and this house is going to feel huge when August comes around!
I had to get rid of furniture, (still need to get rid of furniture, actually). You can’t move without stepping on a Transformer or a crayon, or kicking a balloon. The TV is lit up with big-eyed cartoon characters who have magic wands and little voices. And the internet is always buzzing with activity. All the toys that were in the basement have migrated up here and you can’t reach for the remote without having to move a machine gun or a naked Barbie doll.
I never thought I was very neat, but I am re-evaluating that . . . I believe there is hope for me. There will be a new, organized me come mid-August. Yes, today holds promise – and it cuddles like a brown eyed blonde with rosy cheeks.


They are so full. They are the things music is made from. They are funny and scary, enlightening and exhausting. Some people live there and some never visit – how sad. And I cannot imagine my life without them.
Though I have traveled through 48 states and crossed into both Canada and Mexico, I have gone much further into the world in my dreams. What we used to have to imagine in our childhood, relying on pictures in magazines for fodder, we have since seen many times over on the silver screen and we now own our personal versions in the living room. Ours is a 47″ – how about yours?
The places we went in our childhood playtime! Building forts in the woods, or from hay bales in the barn, tree houses, snow forts – we employed our creative juices and delighted in building with our own hands with whatever was available. I can still hear mom say, “Who took my…???”
Summer mornings would often see Mom pulling a whole loaf of bread from a bag, making it into PB&J sandwiches, and putting the whole loaf back into the bag with a  ‘see ya later‘!
We would be gone all day on our 200 acre farm, drink water from the creek, (up stream from our cattle) play hard and eat sandwiches from the bag when we were hungry. I also remember Dad having to examine us for ticks from head to toe before we jumped into the tub to wash away the day’s grunge.
We rode our bikes, rode our horses, rode our motorcycles, and eventually moved onto cars – which took us away from the farm.
Me thinks today’s kids would find it hard to comprehend such freedom. So few have had a share of that life. They live indoors, in videos, building digital forts with someone else’s software, driving digital cars and tanks, and pushing buttons to kill the enemy who sheds digital blood.
I realize all things must pass. I realize cars replaced buses and trains, airplanes replaced ships for travel overseas, television replaced movie screens for the most part, e-mail replaced handwritten notes, e-books replacing printed paper books, Facebook has made us all narcissistic, mini movie stars . . . we have moved fast in recent years. But, it does not necessarily follow that I must embrace all of this and like it. And it doesn’t mean that I can’t long for a trip to the past . . . and I can go there in my dreams.
My dreams are vivid, rich and constant. To not dream is such a rare thing that I can’t remember the last time I slept so hard that I left dreams behind and went into that deep, dreamless sleep. I have a running video with music in my head all night along with a constant awareness of time. (This is what it feels like – I am aware that dreams take place going into and coming out of rem sleep.) For the most part, I can tell you what I dreamt, but since no one is interested, I usually let it go and forget about it during the first few minutes of the morning while I am thinking about my day. Sandra Bullock was in the bathroom last night, though.
I find it fascinating that we can have our bodies shut down during sleep and still have such activity going on, traveling, cooking, painting, mowing, dental work < nightmare! And still wake up rested.
The brain is such an amazing organ! I have learned much about it’s abilities in these last 60 plus years and it never ceases to amaze me – so much stuff stored in there. I could go on Jeopardy if they would just give you 5 minutes to answer while I spend the first 4 minutes and 55 seconds going, “Oh – I know this, oooo, it’s, it’s, um, um, . . . .”