It’s never lined up like this before, but this year my monthly parenting column was slated to run in The Forum today, which happens to be my and my hubby’s wedding anniversary. So, instead of a card, this is how I wished him a Happy Anniversary. And yes, it was a surprise!
Parenting Perspectives: Minivan is full, so is life
By Roxane B. Salonen, The Forum
For instance, a recent newspaper ad for a â€œfamily specialâ€ at a local bowling alley promised four pairs of bowling shoes, a single-topping pizza and a pitcher of soda for just $19.95.
I imagined the scene: Weâ€™ve each got bowling shoes on one foot and socks on the other (with an extra shoe for a friend if they fit into the minivan). Assuming our teen son reaches the pizza first, weâ€™ll get some crust. As for the pop, Dixie cups anyone?
Perhaps the ad should read, â€œFamily Special (for ideal-sized families).â€
In restaurants everywhere, announcements abound with â€œkids eat freeâ€ specials. But enter the fine print: â€œâ€¦ with accompanying adult meal.â€ Iâ€™m tempted to borrow three extra adults so we can take advantage of the offer just once.
When stopping in the fast-food lane, Iâ€™ve taken to prefacing our orders with, â€œThis will be big,â€ in the hopes of decreasing the high frequency of bags with missing items, not to mention teardrops from children already feeling slighted from having to split their fries.
Speaking of food issues, recently a friend was bemoaning her husbandâ€™s tendency to hoard and hide food. â€œHow many were in his family of origin?â€ I asked. â€œHe was six of seven.â€
In our home, Pop-Tarts and potato chips grow legs upon first touch-down in our kitchen. The kids have learned that if they donâ€™t act before their siblings do, theyâ€™ll be left without having nibbled a single Pringle.
Of course, weâ€™re well aware weâ€™ve set ourselves up. Having crossed the line of â€œnormal-sized family,â€ consequences are inevitable. But a few perks also enter in.
Among those is planning birthday celebrations when we realize half the party already has an invitation. Or how weâ€™re afforded a whole pew to ourselves at church. (Weâ€™ve also been credited for providing endless entertainment for the lucky souls sitting behind us.)
Recently, my husband expressed his satisfaction over having accepted our riches in people not things. And even though life in a large family can be a bit more of everything â€“ including messy â€“ there are also exponentially more chances to learn how to love, even if itâ€™s through trial-by-fire.
Surviving it all as a parent requires an occasional attaboy, so lately Troy and I have been noting our successes by knocking each otherâ€™s knuckles in a sign of triumph. We follow this with our fingers cascading downward in a tandem motion dubbed â€œsparklesâ€ by our teen daughter.
Yes, weâ€™ve managed to do a few things right in our years together, so it seems as good a day as any on this, our 19th wedding anniversary, to say: â€œHappy anniversary, Hon, with knuckles and sparkles all around!â€
Roxane B. Salonen works as a freelance writer and childrenâ€™s author in Fargo, where she and her husband, Troy, parent five children. She blogs on family life at http://peacegardenmama.areavoices.com.