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Knock, Knock, Who’s There?

Chaos. Noise. Requests. Demands. Needs. Disagreements. More demands. 

That’s the way it goes in a blended family, with five kids, all between the ages of ten and sixteen. It’s constant and it’s relentless and it’s intense. There is no quiet time, there is no privacy, and there is no rest.

We were smart, though, we made a rule. No barging into our bedroom without knocking first. Okay, we thought we were smart. 

Knock, knock. Knock, Knock. Knock, knock. “Dad, do you know where my iPod charger is?”

Knock, knock. Knock, Knock. Knock, knock. “Mom, can you help me with my homework?”

Knock, knock. Knock, Knock. Knock, knock. “Dad, I need to talk to you about something.”

Knock, knock. Knock, Knock. Knock, knock. “Dad, Michael isn’t giving me a turn on the computer.”

Knock, knock. Knock, Knock. Knock, knock. “Mom, I need to buy new jeans, when can you take me?”

The knocking is so frequent; it feels like Halloween every night at my house. After a while, we are so exhausted, and our vision is so blurred, that the kids even start to look like witches and scary monsters.

I try to coach myself through the insanity …“I am responsible for my own happiness,” I say to myself. “I can’t control other people’s actions or behaviours; I can only control my own.” I try to think of solutions like putting a sign on my door that says “BACK IN TEN MINUTES.” Ten minutes isn’t long enough. I try hard to smile through the madness but frustration seeps in. I feel like a victim. I feel like a prison inmate and they are holding the keys. Not good. 

Breathe. Think. Call upon a higher wisdom for guidance.  

“Okay,” I say to myself. “Humor is a good way to deal with this.” I lie down on the floor outside of my bedroom. They see me. They don’t get it.   

“Are you okay, Mom?”

“Are you sick?”

“Can I get you anything?”

“Do you need a barf bag?”

“Do you want me to get you a hot tea?

My daughter lies down with me, her head touching mine. She makes me laugh.

They care! Not sure why, but my spirits begins to lift. I hear my mother’s voice in my head, “They are only visitors in your house. Before you know it, they’ll be gone.” I imagine briefly a time when it will be silent and the knocking stops. My mood starts to shift. My tolerance increases. My energy picks up.

“Okay, who needs help with their homework?”

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