…Ah, the glorious sound of silence. Too bad it’s been such a long time since I heard it.
My family moved back to Michigan in June after spending nearly four years in Africa as missionaries. As wonderful and exciting as life is for us right now, the logistics of moving are usually not very logistical at all. Moving is just crazy no matter which way you cut it.
Thankfully, we have an amazing extended family. We have been camping out – the five of us, our two dogs (does that make seven of us?), and all our stuff – at my grandparents’ house for the past month and a half. (They have been so long-suffering! Thanks, Grandpa and Grandma!) We’re still waiting to close on our condo (which will probably happen mid-August). In the meantime, however, I have found that when living in a three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom house with eight people, five dogs, two gerbils (Aviya calls them “gerbas”), two frogs, and a fish, there is never a dull moment.
First of all, let’s just start with the number of bathrooms per quantity of people. Considering that two of the people in this house are convinced that they must shower at least twice a day for personal cleanliness, you practically have to take numbers to decide who gets the next turn. (And no one really wants to use the “back bathroom,” the four-foot-by-four-foot space where the gerbil cage has taken up residence for the summer.)
Secondly, you may have noticed that there are only three bedrooms. My parents and baby sister are sharing one room, and Sam and I each got a couch. (Mine is in the living room; Sam’s is in the unfinished basement.)
Fast Fact! One generally finds that couches are much less comfortable than they thought after sleeping on them for six weeks.
The good news is that, because I am so easily accessible these days (living room = zero privacy), I have been able to become my family’s very own version of Google in the late hours of the night:
“Sabra, has the dishwasher been run?”
“Sabra, where are my two little exercise balls?”
“Sabra, will you unlock the door in the morning?”
“Sabra, where is my book?”
“Sabra, where is my dog?”
“Sabra, when you are quoting something that ends with a semicolon, where do you put the punctuation?”
“Sabra, how do you spell ‘Cincinnati’?”
If not for me, how else would all these questions get answered?
Now let me tell you about a third thing. There are only eight people in the house, but there are six toddlers. How is that, you wonder? I’ll give you a hint – five of them have four legs. Anyone who has dogs will understand what I’m talking about, and anyone who doesn’t – well, I’ve already given it away, haven’t I?
Fast Fact! Dogs are wonderful creatures, but they are like small children who never grow up…ever.
A quick look at the last thirty minutes of my life will bear evidence to this fact….
I was trying to feed our two dogs lunch (they always eat at 2 p.m. and won’t let us forget it), and my grandparents’ littlest dog, Lily, (admittedly still a puppy) was trying to help herself to the food, which made our older dogs snarl at her pesky antics. Amidst the frantic barking and skittering around of my grandparents’ other dog, I finally managed to feed our dogs, only to find that Lily had peed right by the door. (She couldn’t possibly have gone any of the four times I let her out in the past fifteen minutes – after all, the grass was damp.) As soon as they finished their food, our two dogs ran outside and began barking at the squirrel sitting smugly in the tree, eating birdseed just out of their reach. (Poppy and Ginger are utterly fascinated by squirrels, having seen only monkeys and birds in
Africa.) And did I mention that Poppy is obsessed with the gerbils (you know, the ones in the dreaded back bathroom)? Now two of the dogs are wrestling together in my clean sheets, and all of this going on while the 11-year-old German Shepard (who is no less of a puppy at heart than the rest of them) surveys the entirety of her kingdom with a look of bored detachment.
Coupled with the added fun of my eighteen-month-old sister and the two-day-a-week fun of my three young cousins, this house can get pretty nuts. But I wouldn’t trade it for a thing. My family is just right – perfectly quirky and perfectly my own. And so today, as the extremely close proximity of my family was beginning to grate on my nerves, I just had to remind myself how thankful I am for them. Family is a God-given blessing, and I’ll take a noisy house full of love and laughter over a quiet, empty house any day.
“Be joyful always;….give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
After this, college life will be positively boring. Whatever will I do with myself?