Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hidden Rules

This is the darling new sign I scored at an adorable little shop in a town about 10 miles over from Small Town America….it could feasibly be called SmallER Town America.  Isn’t it cute? 

 It is strategically placed in our kitchen to remind our darling geese of the way that a group of people that live together and share a bathroom and holidays should treat one another.  Another word for this group is called FAMILY, and we most certainly have days when we do a better job of “rule following” than others.  Upon glancing at this list of “family rules” one might agree that it covers all of your basics…being respectful, putting others first, etc etc. But if you look closer, you will notice that it does not leave room for all of the “hidden rules” that families seem to acquire over the years.  You know…those things that are unspoken amongst the residents, yet understood to be gospel. Things that make the family tick…understandings and agreements that keep the peace.   Every family has them. Some are more unspoken than others; some more sacred than most.  All important, nonetheless, to the ever-changing, ever-developing dynamic that exists in each of our homes.  Here are ours in no particular order:


1.      All arachnids, rodents, insects, or reptiles are to die upon discovery. 

I don’t do bugs, mice, lizards, or spiders in ANY capacity.  The geese know not to bring these creatures home in a shoebox, and if one of these critters makes the daunting mistake of appearing in this house…all motion comes to a screeching halt until the creature has met it’s Maker. When the hubs and I first moved to Small Town America, I called him home from work to kill a spider that I swear was the size of my head.   Last month, there was a cockroach that found its way into the kitchen upon the geese and I returning from the pool.  I hollered for my son to come rescue this damsel in distress, much to his chagrin, because honestly the roach was the size of a submarine.  After flushing it down the commode, my 7 year old prince looks at me simply and said, “You know you’re the only one in the world that I would ever be that brave for.” To which I replied, “Yes…and that is why you are going to live with me until you are 85.”  His daddy has raised him to be a mighty warrior…especially when it matters.


2.      All words spoken amongst sleep-deprived adults between the hours of 11pm and 6am are to never, ever be repeated or held against one another in a court of law or the bathroom the next morning. 

When the hubs and I had our oldest goose almost 9 years ago (!!!!!), we discovered what true sleep-deprivation was all about.  He was wonderful about helping me get up with our newborn baby…often doing diaper duty and bringing her to me to nurse for our middle of the night feedings.  And on those rare occasions that she would not return to sleep quickly after filling her tummy, her father would take her into the other room sometimes and rock her to sleep or watch infomercials until the wee hours of the night so that I could be a functioning parent the next day.  Super sweet, right?? Yes…it was.  But sometimes the sweetness would give way to resentment and the hours of sleep-deprivation would creep up and cause both of us to say crazy, hurtful, resentful things to each other between the hours of 11pm and 6am.  It was like Satan himself would come into our home, take up residence, and see what kind of havoc he could reap on our otherwise peaceful home.  Comparisons of who had been up with the baby more; snide comments about who had the harder job-the one who left the home and went to work with adults, or the one that stayed home with a newborn…the list goes on and on.  And then miraculously, we would wake the next morning, and after we had both showered and had our first cups of coffee…it was like Satan had left the building, and we went right back to being sweet and cooperative with one another.  Bizarre.  So here we are…9 years and 2 more geese later…the rule still stands.  And even better, the babies have grown accustomed to this “hidden rule” and do a pretty good job of just not speaking to me before my first sip of coffee is consumed.  I’m convinced God made the Keurig coffee maker on Day 8 of creation.

3.       When asked the question, “where do you want to eat?”  suggestions are simply that….suggestions.  Mama picks.

I can’t explain why I’m the moodiest food consumer EVER, I just am.  Funny thing is, my besties have taken on this “hidden rule” even in our own relationship.  Jen just smiles and waits for me to “suggest” where we eat just to save time.  Some call this bossy pants. I call it having an opinion. 

4.       If something is important to you, it better find a home…clutter is a cuss word. 

I would rather have needles stabbed in my eyes than live in a state of clutter.  I often walk through the house with a large trash bag and just begin chunking things in just to rid ourselves of the stuff.  My kids are often mortified as they discover that I have trashed their latest graded math paper or candy they collected from the Small Town America parade we attended on Friday (Small Town America parades are a blog post in and of themselves…)  This practice seems great to have a kitchen countertop free of junk, but the downside is that the geese’s rooms become spaces devoted to their hoarding practices.  My oldest daughter hoards like nobody’s business.  She has every picture she’s ever drawn for every friend she’s ever made at every birthday party she’s ever attended.  It’s wrong on so many levels.  So their unspoken, hidden rule has become “put it up before Mom throws it out”.  Works for me. 

5.       The geese will never, ever become too big to rock in the laps of their parents.

There is just NOTHING better than lifting one of your babies up into your lap in a rocking chair, and just attaching your lips to their face.  My bigs are becoming quite large and sometimes quite awkward, but I mean it when I say that someone is going to have to sedate me the day by babies become too big or too cool or too busy to sit and rock with me for a few minutes each day.  Time simply stands still in these moments and my heart fills up to the very brim…almost to the point where I fear it will explode.  Good thing that son of mine is going to be here until he’s 85. 

Well, there you have it…The “hidden rules” of this little family of 5. There are days that I honestly worry that my children will grow up and tell stories of their neurotic mother freaking out over a “harmless” spider.  Or their father taking out the trash that included their book report and first lost tooth because the “Tooth Fairy accidentally left it on the kitchen counter”… But when the rubber meets the road, I know that our kids won’t remember the laundry piled up or every time we made a mistake as parents.  But I hope they do remember the security that they were wanted, they were adored, they were cherished, and they were loved. So very loved.


  1. Your word pictures are priceless...I laughed out loud and spilled my coffee. You are a great writer and I really enjoy your blob. I mean blog.

  2. A roach the size of a submarine. You know, I think I may have stomped that one yesterday on its way into my kitchen. Blech. I was wearing flip flops so I did make sure I was 100% on target. I sure don't want that nasty roach on my toes. Eek! Loved these unspokens. A fun read that I'm happy you shared with me this week, Ginger Paty.

  3. This is great Ginger! You have such a way with words! I am loving reading your new blog!

  4. Can you bring your large trash bag to my house......the clutter is taking over and I can't stand it much longer!