My three youngest kids were invited to stay at their cousin's house on Saturday night because it was their cousin's birthday. That meant Thomas and I only had two kids for the first time since the older three stopped visiting their father over two years ago. I know most people only have two so would quite like a night off occasionally, but when you have five, having two is almost a night off - well it is as near to it as you're realistically going to get!
As we drove home from dropping them in town, it already felt weird - the car felt surprisingly spacious for starters. We got in late, 7ish so quickly threw some dinner together. Sitting down at the dining table was odd too, as we only took up half the seats but it was the silence that was most unsettling. Not once did we say 'use your fork', 'sit on your bottom', 'sit down', 'one more potato' 'turn and face the table' etc, etc. Dinner was actually a calm, philosophical discussion rather than a set of commands barked over the general din on dinner. Cooking for four was not something Charlotte was used to either so we ended up with a little too much of everything and when it got to dishes we were surprised to find the dishwasher even had space in it for a second meal! Is this what other people do every day? How very strange! After dinner was back to normal for me unfortunately because of a pressing work deadline but Thomas even got to go out for two hours after dinner instead of reading Danish and giving Léon a violin lesson. Is this what life will be like in ten years once we're down to two?
Finally Marcel remarked. 'This must be what other people live like: kids nearly the same age, quiet adult conversations, no tiny kids around your feet asking silly questions and going on about kiddie nonsense. It just doesn't feel right. It's spookily quiet. It doesn't feel like our family.' He just didn't feel at home without the chaotic lifestyle we call normality!