Our family is so loud that it’s startling to other people. My boys are unable to speak, much less carry on a conversation, without adding sound effects. The other day, Liam said, “Mom, you shed worse than a cat,” as he picked a long hair off the chair where he was sprawled. “I find your hair everywhere! They’re like little bombs…[Dropping the hair, he makes a whistling noise.]…KAPOW! Everybody, take cover! [Another whistling noise.] Here comes another one!”

My children are loud, energetic—and when I am lucky—empathetic. They are constantly moving, jumping, falling down. They slide on stockinged feet across the hardwood floor, use our furniture as launching pads and trampolines, thunder up and down the stairs fifty times a day. One of our oft ignored house rules is: Keep Your Feet on the Ground. As if they could! My kids are all about headstands on the couch (“The floor is too hard!”) and gymnastics in the house, which has resulted, unsurprisingly, in heel prints on the wall at or above eye level, broken picture frames and sometimes, tears.

Even now, Large is upstairs in the bathroom, presumably having just showered, where he is rhythmically knocking the step-stool against the uneven tile. When I ask, “Why?” He answers, “Why not?”

Sometimes all the bickering, explosions, and shrieks send me right over the edge of reason (“Are you trying to make me CRAZY?”). But, then, when they are absent, such as when all the kids are at their grandparents’ house, it’s eerily quiet. The house feels lonely without them filling it and I’ll wander from room to room with the echoes of their noisy escapades ricocheting inside my head. And in spite of myself, I’ll miss them.

Maybe I should try and remember the missing them part more often.