On Chaos and Magic

A group of geese is called a gaggle. Elephants run in a herd. Crows are the perfect Halloween family because they live together as a murder.  I know Halloween is over, but I’ve documented my inability to keep holidays separate, and, besides, it’s… muuuuuurrrrr-dddeerrrrr. I’m not sure why I can’t say that word any other way; I try, and then I fail. Muuuuuurrrr-dddeerrrrr. It makes crow migration season a real bear for my kids. On the up side, they never miss crow migration season.  Look, kids!  It’s a muuuurrrr-dddeerrrrr.

Sorry.  Anyway,…

Hummingbird families are called a charm. Isn’t that darling? And wouldn’t it be nice to be a lark and live in an exaltation? That sounds lovely. I’ll bet hummingbirds and larks go to the spa together, have immaculate hair, and never, ever auspuff at the grocery store and try to pass it off as squeaky shoes.

As for our family, well, we’re a chaos.  That’s right.  We’re a chaos of Woolseys.

Now, we could have stolen our name from mice and become a mischief.  Or, really, an obstinancy or a clutter, like buffalo or cats, would have worked nicely. But a long time ago, a divinely inspired friend labeled us a chaos, and, hey, when the shoe fits, right?  (Also, another friend calls our house The Shoe. What can I say? I have extremely brilliant friends.)

To tell the truth, our chaos sometimes reaches overwhelming proportions.  Most of the time, we roll with it.  Most of the time, we know when to say “no” to the myriad things that pull us in a thousand directions.  But some of the time, we have, oh, say, parent/teacher conferences at four schools for five kids to fit into two days; two days already full with school, work, dance, karate, youth group, allergy shots, and homework.  And, you’ll never believe it, but the state also expects us to feed and clothe our children every single day — even on parent/teacher conference days.  And on those days, I feel the strain, wondering, like I’m wont to do when I’m overwhelmed with chaos, whether I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with this crazy, beautiful life.

My preschoolers and I were riding home from school today when Cael asked me this:

“Mama, does chaos mean magic?”

Do you ever have Breathe Deep moments?  Those seconds of time when something – or someone – stops you in your tracks? When you can almost see the fresh air you didn’t expect but so badly needed?

Do you ever find that the equal and opposite force that acts upon the chaos is understanding?

“Mama, does chaos mean magic?”

Oh, baby boy.

Yes.

Yes, it does.  For our family, chaos means magic.  I just need the reminder, every now and then, to look up from my task list so I can see the pixie dust.

I guess we are, after all, a Charm of Woolseys.  And a Mischief of Woolseys. An Exaltation and an Obstinancy.  A Clutter and a Chaos.

And we’re also a Magic.  A Magic of Woolseys.

Proudly,
The Mama of Chaos

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
24 comments
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  7. As we are working to try to get moved by the end of the month (something decided shortly after the beginning of the month), I would have to say that we are a “clutter”. I, too, loved this post. It reminded me of a video I saw via Facebook of an exultation–didn’t realize it was hummingbirds until your blog–it was awesome.

    Thanks. Just be glad you aren’t moving during all the regularly scheduled chaos! I do not recommend moving during a school year! Or right before (and during) holidays…. or while pregnant (4th time I done that!)….

    1. Yikes! I don’t know how you’re doing the move in the midst of Thanksgiving AND pregnancy, Terri! I hope all goes swimmingly and there’s some rest for you on the other side.

  8. Ah, yeah! My camp nickname was Chaos so I guess that would make me Mama Chaos now? I think we might have an obstinancy at our house right now though… 😉

    1. Best camp nickname ever.

      Although, mine was Flounder.

      I wonder… are camp names indicative of who we will always be? In my case, that would certain be true. 😉

  9. You would think that as the kids get older, PT Conferences would be easier – NOT!

    This year I had 3 of my Chinions (Chaos Minions) in 3 different schools – DD 15 (9th) with 8 teachers, DS 13 (8th) with 6 teachers plus a special ed team, and DD 1 (6th) with 3 teachers. At the end of all of it, I felt like I had survived a speed-dating event that lasted a total of 8 hours! Luckily, I have an employer who is very kind and understanding.

    I also didn’t have to go to the SD or SS’s conferences. THAT is a blessing in disguise.

    At least the conferences are semi-scheduled. Not like the open houses…all 3 schools open for the same 4 hours, and you have to take the kids to each of their classes, figure out the lockers and fix any scheduling/fees/last year leftovers issues while trying to remember the last time you stopped at the bathroom!

    It’s enough to make me want to home school. 😛

    1. CHINIONS! Great word morph.

      No – it’s true. The older they get, the worse the conference schedule. I was under the same delusion ’til my oldest hit middle school. Speed dating = great analogy, except there’s no hope someone will ask you out at the end. No good night kiss. No dinner and a movie. It’s like pathetic speed dating. 😉

      I have many a home-schooling friend, and when they vacation in the fall and spring at low season and take themselves to coffee for parent/teacher conferences, I wonder… who’s the crazy one? Oh yeah. It’s me.

    2. Chinions! Ha! I referred to my children as minions yesterday. My husband said, “They’re not minions, honey. They don’t do all your evil bidding for you.” To which I replied, “Ah, but they do, dear. More than you’ll ever know.” 🙂

  10. This made my heart smile.

    1. Aw! Thanks, Angie. Right back at ya.

  11. Parent teacher interviews = crying. I need more hours.

    1. If you find more hours, will you sell me some?

      Sending you love and some x’s and o’s to make it through the not-enough-hours!

  12. Doggonit, I just got done telling you on facebook how funny you are, and now you’ve gotta go and make me cry. Geez.

    I enjoy reading about your chaos. Your chaos sounds way more magical than does mine. Maybe it’s because of the amazing magical Mama of Chaos that hangs out at your house. This Mama? More like a Mama of Mischief. Ugh.

    1. Yippee! The old switcheroo worked again! 😉

      I loved emailing with you today, Elizabeth. Thanks for the fun and friendship.

  13. Yes. And I too was the oldest of five, as well as mother of six. (My house was once nicknamed Shoe as well.)
    Funny thing, with only one at home, I believe we are still a chaos.
    And Beth-I followed the link to auspuff and – too funny!

    1. Bahaha! Cathie – that’s my biggest fear (read: fondest wish)… that my family will continue as a chaos forever and ever and ever and ever. Thanks for giving me hope.

  14. I absolutely love this post!
    As the oldest of five kids, your blog reminds me of home and of the crazy, chaotic, beautiful magic that comes from having that many kids (plus the extras accumulated through friendships) under one roof. I’m now the proud mommy of one and look forward to the chaotic magic to come.
    I have read every single one of your posts and love the peeks into your family’s lives.

    1. Oh, Kayla. Way to make a girl’s day. Thank you for the extraordinary kindness of this comment.

      Greg read your comment before me. (That’s how he flirts – by lurking on the blog. ;))
      Greg: Do you know Kayla Walton?
      Me: No. Why?
      Greg: You’re going to like her.

      That Greg’s a smart boy.
      Thanks.

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