Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Open house

“The door’s always open,” I like to say.  I like to have that kind of life, people coming and going, feeling welcome, dropping by.  Staying for a while.

But I never meant for my open door policy to be literal.

“DOOR!”  I yell, over and over, a howling refrain.  “DOOR!” as my sons run down the driveway.  “DOOR!” as my daughter heads into the bathroom. 

“I’d very much like to hear what you are saying,” I intone calmly,  “but I can’t pay attention because the door is open and all our heat is pouring out into the driveway.”  I am proud of the control in my voice since I just read a book detailing how horrific the practice of natural gas extraction by fracking is, and our furnace is fired by, you guessed it, natural gas.

“Sorry, Mom.”

And when I’m really tired of the constant, repetitive “DOOR” call, I lose it a bit:  “You guys are going to lose your privilege to go outside ever again!”  As if.

After weeks of trying, failing, and failing again to get my kids to close the door without a reminder each and every time, the kids’ annual cookie party this week came as a relief.  A million kids running in and out requires full-on surrender to a wide-open door, and the continuous baking means the house is plenty warm without having the heat on.  Open house, indeed.

Best of all, the whole house is full of laughter and sugar and mouths stuffed with pilfered M&Ms.   And I notice that on each of the gingerbread houses the kids make, the door is propped wide open, letting in the love, even if the heat is escaping.

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