I saw a woman out with her kids a few days ago at the post office. She had two boys and a girl, just like mine and they were all standing in line together like a picture perfect painting. Even their clothes were catalog-ready and their hair was not in desperate need of a cut. The girl was holding an envelope and the boys were just there… standing. Still.
In we walk, my two boys and a girl, more like a commercial for birth control than any work of art. I didn’t even try to attempt to get my children to stand with me; the boys stood by the door opening it for the other patrons and Lily stood giving me a play by play of just how far they were opening the door. Given the possibilities out in public with my children, they were behaving like total angels.
Her boys glanced at my boys and you could almost see the inner struggle, complete with cartoon bubbles and devils drawn on their shoulders. They started to inch over and their mother shot them a glance and slightly pursed her lips. They immediately shuffled back in line and just… stood. My children, clueless to what had just transpired, continued shrieking and opening and laughing.
I’ve often wished that my children listened a bit better, stood a bit more still and shrieked not quite so loudly. There is no look I can shoot them to instantly whip them in to shape in public. There is not word that immediately has them standing like soldiers. But, as I stood watching two sets of children, one having a blast with a simple chore and one completely miserable, there was no question who I was happier to be taking home.
Even if that home is quite a bit louder.