Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Family togetherness... and why it tires me out

It wasn't until I was writing the teaser to yesterday's post that I figured out why the kids' recent weekend visits have been so tiring.

Not until then did I realize that, these days, when the kids come to stay with us on the weekends, they come to stay with us. They want to talk with us. To watch movies with us. To play games with us. (Yes, I finished last in Saturday's Scrabble game. Again.)

Years ago, when the kids allegedly lived with us, there was one place that none of them would ever voluntarily be on a Saturday night: Our den.

From the time the kids entered junior high until they signed a lease elsewhere, Long Suffering Spouse and I had the den to ourselves on Saturday nights. If someone was home -- whether because of a disciplinary matter (theirs or someone else's) or because of some other social disaster -- that someone would be in his or her room, brooding (or, in later years, talking on his or her cell phone or chatting on line), or in the basement, taking out his or her disappointment on the Playstation.

I could, and did, get a lot of sleep on Saturday nights. If there was a sporting event on TV which might draw one of the boys from their room, I could doze off without embarrassment. Indeed, it would probably come as a relief to the kid in question who might otherwise have to engage in some sort of limited conversation with me.

Long Suffering Spouse would do stitchery on Saturday evenings, or grade papers and -- sometimes -- after I had already dropped off -- snooze a bit herself.

Even before all the kids were driving, and we had to fetch and carry them to and from their social engagements, there would be a few hours in between drop off and retrieval in which I could watch TV through the back of my eyelids. The weekends were a time for rest and relaxation.

But now, however, Long Suffering Spouse and I are allegedly the featured attraction. That was the official story Saturday evening, as Older Daughter and her husband Hank (and their golden retriever Cork), visiting from Indianapolis, decided to invite all the rest of the siblings over for a barbecue... which Long Suffering Spouse dutifully provided. (I was pressed into service trying to scrub the upper layers of carcinogens off the grill when Long Suffering Spouse noticed me hiding in a corner.)

Oldest Son and his wife Abby came by with their itsy-bitsy dog Rodent and there was a renewal of the Canine Summit, this one a bit more successful than the first such meeting last November in that Abby was much more confident on this occasion that Cork would not eat Rodent in one bite (though he could) -- but not entirely successful in that Rodent was not so easily persuaded that she was not in mortal peril.

Middle Son had stopped by the house in the middle of the afternoon, on his way home from work. He's an accountant; it's tax season. Saturday is a working day. He was hoping to pick up his mail (we remain his post office box) on his way home. His original plan was to go home for a nap and a shower before heading out for the fleshpots of Lakeview and Lincoln Park. Older Daughter, however, persuaded him to stay.

Only Youngest Son -- still in college -- was unavailable.

So... maybe Long Suffering Spouse and I weren't the main attraction. The kids enjoyed each others' company and the canine confrontation. But neither Long Suffering Spouse nor I could get in our accustomed Saturday evening snooze.

Small wonder these weekends with kids visiting are not as restful as weekends heretofore. Yes, I was tired yesterday morning, but it was because I had to play Gracious Host all weekend, not because I'm getting older.

At least, not just because I'm getting older....

1 comment:

sari said...

Whenever I find myself thinking "I simply cannot play ONE. MORE. GAME." I realize that soon enough, no one will be asking me to play. It's nice to know that eventually they will want to, again.