“Mom’s coming in hot,” Josh called out from his perch at the front window. Our siblings threw open their notebooks to simulate their passion for homework. I turned back to the boiling water and took the tube of dry spaghetti in my hand like Thor. BAM! I threw it into the pot.
Our mom always worked and it made us self-reliant ~ free-range children before that was a radical idea. It didn’t mean that we didn’t screw up or fight, but it did mean we had each others’ back. Mom was the Alpha of our pack — an unperturbed general manager of the household. “Lean in,” “Just do it” — our Mom didn’t need a catch phrase to motivate her to “have it all.” She just lived and loved enough to have five kids, and she considered them indentured help, humorous distractions and objects of wonder.
But when she came home in that Piranha Hour before dinner we each knew our pivotal role in getting dinner on the table — FAST! Because, well, she who must be obeyed first must be fed. Then we could talk, share, tease and cry with the shrill abandon of five kids fed, loved and unbound.