As I drove away from my house one evening last week, my daughter sloppily rode her bike with her mud boots on as her knees hit her chin.
It was her first bike ride of the spring. Her urgency to ride undermined her patience for letting me adjust the seat for the several inches she grew since the fall.
One of my toddler twin boys was crying and screaming because my partner wasn’t walking on the ‘correct’ part of the sidewalk as he peddled behind his big sister. And the other twin was somewhere in the garage, off of his bike, but still wearing his helmet while he hit himself in the head with a broom.
I drove away and thought we are that family.
We are that family, the family with two moms, twin toddlers, and a fivenager, all of whom have strong personalities willing to equally compete with or complement each other in the loudest ways possible—usually both within a 60 second time span.
We are that loud, shameless, spectacle of a family who seems to bring attention—for better or for worse—to every location we occupy.
We are the family with parents who yell too quickly, too loud and too often with kids who yell too quickly, too loud and too often.
We are the family with the almost naked or naked kids running around in the front yard, no matter what the season.
We are the family with the kids who wear all of their favorite clothes at once, achieving the fashion sense of gypsies.
We are the family with the kid who poops on the porch with the dog who then eats it.
We are the family at the playground with the seemingly mean parents who refuse to help their kids climb or play on a piece of equipment, because if they can’t do it on their own then they probably shouldn’t be doing it.
We are the family with the kids who throw tantrums in public while the parents hold their ground but die inside from frustration and sideways glances from onlookers.
We are the family with parents who tell other parents what assholes our kids can be.
We are the family with the mom who throws toys off of the front porch because the sound of three kids fighting over it is too much to take.
We are the family with the mom who then uses the broken toy as an example to their kids that they should never throw things because they could break.
We are the family with the kid who projectile vomits in a restaurant.
We are the family with one parent constantly looking like she is being held hostage.
We are the family at the park with the dog who jumps on top of picnic tables to greet strangers.
We are the family with confident, headstrong kids who would rather wear flip flops in the winter than be bothered with boots, with the parents who let them because they are trying to teach natural consequences but mostly because they are too exhausted to argue with their children.
We are the family with the parents who let their kids eat food off of the ground, floor, or out of deep recesses of the minivan.
We are that family, I told myself. But as I drove away from my family for a couple of hours to catch up with friends, I unapologetically owned it. Because with all of this, we are also the family who cheers quickly, loudly, and often for our kids’ successes.
We are the family who happily invites the neighborhood kids to join in on whatever shenanigans are happening in the front yard.
We are the family who will host a dinner party for all of the other parents willing to accept the fact that their kids can be assholes too. We host the parents in denial too.
We are the family who does not hide anger, joy, sadness, or gratitude.
We are the family who is thankful for the amount of laughter and friendship in our lives.
We are the family who goes on adventures that don’t go according to plan, but end up being special.
We are the family who always eats dessert.
We are the family who dances and sings like no one is watching, knowing full well everyone probably is.
We are the family who, for better or worse—usually for the better—lives and loves out loud.
We are that family.