As mothers, we can all laugh in retrospect about the crazy phone calls and antics of our children. I’m not quit sure if my own kids are “off the charts” when it comes to frolics into the Twilight Zone but they have pulled some “dosies” over the years.

Let’s start with the cute things and work up from there.

During one Halloween season, Andrew and Rebecca rubbed toothpaste all over themselves, hopped on a broom, and proudly proclaimed that they were “witches.”  Later that week Rebecca thought she would make her sister into a clown. Removing brown magic marker proved more difficult than expected and literally produced “tears from a clown.”

One summer, five-year-old Melissa wouldn’t move when Andrew wanted to “play golf.” He swung anyway and nailed her right in the head. “Fore!” You could hear my husband screaming over three blocks away. 

Going anywhere with five kids under seven was an adventure into la Vida loca. I was convinced early on that they had clandestine meetings after I put them to bed, whereby they plotted ways to make mommy crazy some of the time, and embarrassed all of the time.

I received a rather terse phone call one year when Nic was in Catholic elementary school from his teacher, who demanded I come in and see her. After arriving, she explained that the class was supposed to come up with an “a-r” word and then draw a picture to show everyone. Slowly she revealed the rudimentary image featuring two humps and a cloud rising above. The word in question carefully spelled out across the top, “F-a-r-t.” She impatiently awaited my explanation. “Geez” I sighed, “I don’t see what the big deal is. In our house this is a term of endearment.” With that, I had deflated her sails. She was appalled.

Seriously, in the whole scheme of a parent’s life…that barely make a ripple.

Being a MOF (mother of five), and on my own much of the time, trained me to take things in stride as the children grew? I also learned that the yelling thing proved ineffective early on when they mastered the art of tuning me out.

About six years ago, all seven us were in the airport playing the old employee “stand-by for a flight game. This pretty much consists of dressing up, arriving five hours early, and then agonizing as you wait to see if you are “on the flight” until the plane is practically backing away and they shout, “run for it!” My lovely brood had tired of waiting, and thought they would offer the lounge some live entertainment. The girls had just launched into their rendition of the Whiney Sisters Show, when Andrew decided it was time to bring in Gollum. You know, Smeagol’s alter ego from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  So he is slinking around my legs, snarling and pretending to bite me, muttering,  “Precious, my Precious” while Chris is sitting there taunting Nic as he thinks up hypothetical games he would to be better at. 

I think my husband Mark was conveniently hiding in the bathroom.

I was taking it all in and mildly amused, when I happened to catch the eye of an elderly couple who really were spellbound and a little put-off at the same time. I just smiled blithely wondering if I should take a bow and thank them for coming, or just melt into the floor.

Like it or not, we are a bit of a Freak Show where ever we go. If I didn’t laugh, and there were plenty of years that I didn’t. I would cry.

A few years back, I was picking out some things at Target and had the boys with me. At the checkout, Chris leaned over my shoulder and mumbled something about the credit card “not being” mine. He continued to make similar remarks until the cashier finally asked for some ID.  Thank you Mr. Funny bones.

Lest you get the idea that my kids were holy terrors, I’d like to clarify that it was more like controlled chaos mixed in with some freedom to develop a bizarre sense of humor.

Finally, this pretty much sums it all up. My friend and neighbor recounts the story of our family coming home from a vacation. She watched from across the street as we all piled out of the suburban. Emerging last but not least, Melissa looked at her and sighed, “that’s right Mrs. Cross, the Freak Show is home.”

This Freak Show by any other name is my family. It never gets dull around here and we have made our indelible mark on the world. Frankly, you never know where or when we’ll be turn up in your town. So watch the papers.