I have to give credit to one of my best friends for the title, it’s not mine. But still, I love the description.
The reason, of course, is the fact that my home is full again. It’s chaos, but it is a beautiful chaos. All four kids arrived home last night and I could tell they missed home . . . missed me.
On the drive home, the boys talked a mile a minute, mostly about their favorite cartoons. Randomly, the Talking Heads song Psycho Killer came on the radio and my two girls sang it loudly and proudly in the car. “I think everyone loves the Talking Heads ironically,” said Abbi. “I think they actually sang ironically, too” she said smiling. Can’t really disagree.
It wasn’t a hard time with the kids gone, but it was quiet. I grew restless, not sedentary, and was bouncing around a lot. I wrote and recorded music. I did projects. I wrote. I did all kinds of things with them gone because it’s just too calm.
I’m the kind of person who turns on the television or puts on an old LP when he’s cooking because I don’t like the silence. I never have.
There are days, I have to admit, I wish I could calm my brain. I want to quiet it down a little and lessen the projects I’d love to complete and write and record and shoot and produce. I don’t obsess, it’s just my brain has this morass of miscellany and I want to do it all.
But all that changed in 2011 when I became the only parent in my house. It’s not that I stopped thinking, but I realized that I couldn’t do them all. Demos I record have little noises in the background of small children. The projects I always thought about or the management jobs that people tried to get me to take are on a far back burner because, frankly, I want to be available for the kids. I could go take a job that took tons of hours and paid a lot of money but I chose not to do that. I chose a job that put me out in the field again, helped me be less sedentary, let me be home at a reasonable hour most nights.
I am Dad to these kids. I didn’t exchange my own identity for that, I still have my projects, they just take longer than they used to take.
And the beautiful chaos continues.
The kids came home, stopping with me at In and Out for dinner and heading to the house. “Can we eat it on the floor of the living room?” asked Sam, one of the twin boys. I let them, why not? The house was clean and they cleaned up their garbage so all was right with the world.
Abbi smiled, telling me this was the best homecoming, having horrible, greasy, delicious fast food. When it was just her and I for awhile, she found the empty house eerie, not in fear but in silence. The lack of the boys and Hannah’s presence really was felt. I felt the same thing, and do often.
So after I put them all to bed, sat down to write, I heard the little footprints on the stairs, the breathing coming out of the rooms above me, and I was calmer than I’d been with them gone.
It’s truly a beautiful chaos in this space.