“We have a school project, I’m going to make a video!” shouts my 10 year old as he comes barreling through the front door to share the good news with me.
I take a deeeeeeep breath.
Because I know what this means.
It means the contents of my towel closet spread across the length of the upstairs play room to set the stage just right.
It means my neatly folded linens will be hanging from the walls with his trusty blue tape to make the perfect backdrop.
It means every hamper will be overturned and dumped out to create thrones, chairs, tables and more.
It means contents of toy boxes dumped out to use the containers for something or other..
And it means various other items that belong to me, from all around the house, will suddenly go missing.
And it also means I’ll have to keep the baby in my arms and the 2 and 4 year old under close scrutiny so they don’t dare mess things up.
I let out my breath.
I smile a fake smile.
“How exciting, what’s it about?”
He pulls out a pile of papers.
“This time I’m being organized. I made a list of props and costumes that I need, Can you help me get them?”
And he’s off, calling his built-in cast, his younger siblings, from all corners of the house.
He is so creative, I marvel.
And then I remember I have my work cut out for me tonight and I’m not quite as thrilled.
As I listen from downstairs, I hear them all laughing and giggling as they get into costumes.
Enjoy the moment, I think to myself.
I know what lays ahead of me.
They will fight. They will argue. They will come crying to me at various times.
They will laugh and have a blast. They will film each other and make goofy faces.
And the two year old will ruin some part at some point.
There’s only so much I can micromanage from being downstairs in the kitchen, cooking supper and holding the baby.
Part of me wants to discourage them…maybe make it a bit shorter…you don’t really need props…maybe just draw a picture…build something with lego…
But I know letting their creativity loose is more important than my neat linen closet.
I give them some rules.
Oh, they need a digging scene.
Only sand, no water.
No, you can not make mud.
No sand on each other’s heads.
Deep down I know that there will miraculously be mud and there will be sand in everyone’s hair (and no one did it).
Only the blue sheets.
Oh, but he needs the green.
Ok, also just the green.
And just one more…
I’m losing my control of the situation…do I try to get it back or let it slide?
So many quick decisions to make.
And just one more towel.
And one more roll of tape.
And the silver tray.
And for the 47th time in one hour I remind them to make sure it all gets put back because I trust them with all this stuff.
No food. No, you can not take food. You have to pretend.
And they’re off to start filming.
I hear laughing from upstairs.
Then a crash. I just know that was the sound of the tripod…
And then someone is crying.
And a door slams.
Then some language that’s not allowed in this house.
That’s it, I’m marching upstairs and making them stop. It’s not working out.
I make my way to the steps and start marching up, only to hear the sound of laughter.
Oh, the fights over.
I head back downstairs.
At the next fight, a mere 3 minutes later, I breathe deeply and count to five. I do it three times. breathing through the fight, kind of like a contraction, only here it actually helps.
Sure enough, more laughter.
An hour later I’m still downstairs, praying to have patience not to make them stop before they’re done.
And then they finish and I get to watch it.
And oh, how my heart swells with pride.
How creative! What a great cast they make! What a great job!
And there’s even a “behind the scenes” clip and some bloopers, and I pray that I’m not in either of them.
Phew, I’m not.
I get a glimpse into what was going on the past couple of hours.
How they all worked together.
And as I notice the towel cabinet door slightly open and towels stuffed in on all sides, I bite my tongue from pointing anything out.
Who needs neatly folded towels anyway?