Sorry We Broke Your House

Dear Mom,

I wanted to thank you and Dad for a lovely seven-day visit to your house this summer! It was so generous of you to host your son, three daughters, six of your grandchildren, and one grand-dog all at the same time. You two are the most loving, hospitable idiots I know.

Though the purpose of the trip was for the little cousins to attend a week-long camp together and celebrate the summer birthdays, it quickly became apparent that this week was about something so much bigger and more important: transforming your beautiful home into a disgusting, mud-soaked monster truck arena. Happy birthday!

Me emptying the dishwasher in your kitchen.

How marvelous it must’ve been to have the vast majority of your grandbabies – ages 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 20 – under one roof, in the very house where you raised your own children. It has taken you decades to have the time and resources to get the house museum-level pristine, and only seven days for it to all blow up in a cloud of shattered glass and Goldfish dust.

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The guilty.

Now, the most important part of any good thank you note: the apologies. This list may not fix your house, but at least it’ll help fill in the gaps on all those insurance claims/your will:

  • I’m sorry your fridge broke because we opened it too many times.
  • I’m sorry that my 2-year-old woke up the whole house by standing in the hallway at 3:00 am screaming “I WANT AGUA!!!”
  • I’m sorry that the 3-year old roused everyone again at 5:00 am screaming “I DON’T WANT TO GO TO CAMP!”
  •  I’m sorry that I silenced everyone during happy hour with my screaming “WHY ISN’T ANYONE HELPING ME?!”
  • I’m sorry your eldest daughter tripped over and shattered a wine glass in your backyard.
  • I’m sorry that we left wine glasses everywhere, including in the middle of the backyard patio at 2:00 pm.
  • I’m sorry my daughter broke a china plate.
  • I’m sorry your son gave my daughter a snack on a china plate.
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Week sponsored by Pure Fun trampolines and Bozo’s School of Pratfalls and General Clowning.

So, once again, my apologies, but thank you for such a wonderful and memorable week spent with beloved fam… oh God there’s more:

  • I’m sorry my daughter broke your rental crib by bouncing up and down on it and splitting it in half.
  • I’m sorry that as she was jumping to break the crib, she braced herself with an oil painting portrait of you and brought that tumbling down, too.
  • I’m sorry my 3-year-old nephew hid under the bedside table and when it was time to jump out and scare his mother, he got tangled up in the cords and brought a glass lamp tumbling down. It missed his head but don’t worry, shards of glass went into every crevice of the carpet.
  • I’m sorry that once all the babies were asleep, and all the wine glasses were full, we had to watch the 7-year-old do a shot-for-shot reenactment of “Wonder Woman.”
  • I’m sorry your daughter accidentally put a nightlight (w/ light bulb) in the washing machine along with all her childrens’ clothing.
  • I’m sorry that your 20-year-old grandson is too polite to tell you that the air mattress you bought him deflated after 10 minutes and that he slept on the bare floor for six nights.
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“Nice puppet, lady. What’s up with that porcelain doll on the shelf? Can I break it and/or eat it and/or flush it down a toilet? “

Well, that should about cover it! Again, can’t thank you enough for… AH CHRIST HERE WE GO AGAIN!

  • Dad, I’m sorry that the only emotional respite you had from the chaos was a 3-hour trip to the Holocaust Museum.
  • Mom, I’m sorry that you spent the entire week at the grocery store. (Are you still there right now? Can you grab some limes?)
  • I’m sorry we all let the dog poop in your garden because no one wanted to take her for a real walk.
  • I’m sorry that one of your daughters knocked  a fancy bottle of room spray off your toilet. (It broke. But smells terrific.)
  • I’m sorry the 20-year-old shattered two glasses trying to get ice out of the broken refrigerator.
  • I’m sorry that my baby smashed chocolate cake into your rug during his first birthday party.
  • I’m sorry that my daughter rubbed the same chocolate cake into your white dining room chairs.
  • I’m sorry that after 50+ years of parenting and grand-parenting you haven’t learned about babies and chocolate cake and white upholstered chairs.
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Chocolate stainers
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You wouldn’t believe how much cake is under this high chair.

Oh, and the dollhouse. The beautiful, treasured dollhouse of our youth. The dollhouse that, Dad, you built by hand with love and precision over 25 years ago. And Mom, you decorated with years’ worth of antique treasures and hand-made trinkets. I’m sorry that we thought that our wretched children were worthy of playing with it.

Turns out the well-behaved, 5- and 7-year-old girls didn’t want to play with the dollhouse (they opted for $.05 balloons instead). Unfortunately, the poor vulnerable dollhouse was descended upon by the heedless maniacs: a giant one-year-old baby who snapped its columns and tried to ingest one of its many mini-candelabras; the burly 2-year-old who shoved the doll toilet into the doll bassinet and hid them both in between the human couch cushions; and worst of them all – the 3-year-old boy who raced toy cars up and down the rickety staircase and took the teeny tiny waste paper bin that his grandmother had delicately wrapped in wallpaper and stomped it to smithereens.

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Looking for more dollhouse furniture to curb-stomp.

The dollhouse was built as a mini replica of the real house. And as such, it, too, got destroyed.

On my last night in town, we all gathered around the dinner table and laughed at how we had essentially trashed the place. While we were reminiscing and listing off the things we had broken, I, apparently, was getting my period all over your white dining room chair.

The good news is that I’m not pregnant. There would be nowhere for it to sleep.


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Wonder Woman loves her grandchildren and always makes sure there are at least 35 cases of wine in the basement at all times. 

All photos by Jim Bensfield


Add yours →

  1. Fabulous!


  2. Such a perfectly wonderful week! Love the photos especially Wonder Woman!!!!


  3. Your mom has such a beautiful smile! Sounds like a wonderful, chaotic, love-filled time.


  4. Dear Wonder Woman, I am cancelling a similar plan . .. thought grandchildren were supposed to be the EASY part. Do you need your faithful friends to start a Go-Fund-Me page?


  5. Julia, I can’t tell you how much I loved this. It is exactly what was going on across the street about 12 years ago. It was total mayhem. Love to you and your family from Vermont.

    Liked by 1 person

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