By A.M. WERTZ
Special to the Sun-Gazette
Something occurred to me the other day. If my husband were sitting next to me, he would probably say something like, "are you insane, woman?" but he's not, so I'm going to say it anyway.
Here it goes: I actually like the sound of my kids when they fight. Wait - let me rephrase that in a way that doesn't imply that the sound of them hurting each other makes me happy - I'm grateful for the sound of my family.
Think about it. I'm sure those of you who have a brother or sister - older or younger - can recall thinking at least once or twice, "what did I ever do that was so wrong to deserve a brother or sister?"
I chuckle when I think about moments in the car when my brother and I were kids. Those times were the worst. He is 4 years older than me and I will admit wholeheartedly that he was a pretty good kid and I was the "problem" child.
My brother (and parents) would agree that I was the instigator. I would punch him to get a reaction, and then cry when he retaliated. Needless to say, he was the one who got in trouble.
Something my mother said then is proving to be true. I remember her saying on more than one occasion, "you'll understand when you have kids of your own."
Boy, do I ever. I also remember her saying, "Don't make me pull this car over."
Yup, I can relate to that one, too.
Which leads me to the wonderful weekend my family of four shared together.
On Friday night, we attended a penny carnival for my daughter's Girl Scout troop. I mean it when I say it was the cheapest, fun-filled family outing in existence. I don't think we paid more than $1.50 for more than two hours of game-playing, prize-winning and popcorn-eating.
Saturday morning, we had a blast at opening day for the kids' tee-ball league. The pride on both of the kid's faces when they walked away with medals dangling from their necks was priceless.
That night we attended a spaghetti dinner to benefit the Susquehanna Valley Derby Vixens. The kids let loose and danced to live music, skidding across the smooth floor on their knees.
Sunday morning was church and outdoor work at home. The kids discovered worms of all sizes, squealing and giggling (and gagging) at their squishy texture. They also created beautiful bouquets of flowers, leaving the blooming shrubbery from which they clipped chunks of flowers a bit bare in places.
I realized, though, that it truly is what's on the inside that counts. Yes, my bushes are sort of hacked in spots, but my dining room table and kitchen counter look great, thanks to the thoughtful creations of my daughter and son.
What's seen with the naked eye on the outside can be so much different on the inside.
So, back to that eureka moment. I was driving home from work the other day in complete silence, thinking, "boy, this quiet time is nice."
Then I imagined the shrieking and yelling and name-calling that typically comes from the backseat of the car and I remembered a conversation my husband and I recently shared.
The kids were fighting in their usual manner on the way to or from some family excursion and I asked my husband, "Why do they HATE each other?" He replied simply, "We're a family."
And he was right. The bickering and fighting is part of growing up and someday, when they look back on it, they, too, will chuckle in remembrance, hopefully relishing the relationship they might share.
I wouldn't trade any of the family moments together - the happy, sad, angry or giggly times. The fighting in the car is simply part of our next moment of Together Time.
Wertz, the former Sun-Gazette assistant Lifestyle editor, now is the director of funds distribution at the Lycoming County United Way. She may be reached at email@example.com.
Her column is published on the first Sunday of each month.