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In the middle of family life

There is a family sitcom I have been viewing lately on WB HD called The Middle. It is about the Heck family—mother, father, two sons and a daughter. The story lines are hilarious, situations a little extreme, but there is always something to set you thinking.

The oldest child, son Axel, is a typical American teenage boy, obnoxious, insensitive, teases the siblings mercilessly, talks back to the parents and though intelligent, does not put any effort into his academics, instead, he is about the girls!

Sue, middle child and teenager, is overly emotional, awkward and dramatic about everything. Her goal is to fit in the group of those girls who are considered popular and so she is always trying something new to achieve this, not with much success I might add. Somehow, her adventures all seem to end disastrously.

Then there is Brick, the last child with developmental issues. Though a teenager, he is very short for his age, and has a penchant for reading. This includes catalogues and books on science, psychology, etc., which often times leads him into trouble since when absorbed in his books, he is oblivious to everything else.

Dad Mike and Mom Frankie have their hands full trying to provide, keep the peace and deal with the situations in the household.

In a recent episode, Mom Frankie, overwhelmed by the goings on, decides to leave the family. Her reason? A series of events which left her feeling that she was not appreciated.

It began when she tried to take a shower to get ready to go to work as a car sales person. Sue was occupying the mother’s bathroom, taking extremely long to ‘primp’ because of some school activity she wanted to look her best for.

Frankie went to the kitchen where she encountered dirty dishes in the dishwasher (Axel didn’t do his chores) and was bombarded by Brick who was exploring something in a catalogue and insisted she listen to his findings.

Taking up a potato chips bag she began to eat the contents only to be informed when she complained about the taste that Axel had put his toenail clippings in the bag! No amount of retching brought up the contents of her stomach, and so in disgust, she decided to leave the family.

After driving around in the rain crying and singing “All by myself” for three hours, she eventually ended up by her mother on whose shoulders she rested while pouring her heart out.

Meanwhile, the children shocked by the mother’s departure began to blame each other for the situation. It was a case of who didn’t do the laundry, dusted the furniture, do the dishes, had the house untidy, confusing her with stories from catalogues, etc. What was amazing was in the end, each child exonerated him/herself by turning the blame back on the mother. It was her fault because she didn’t………

Mike eventually went for his wife and called the children to let them know they were on the way home. They got busy and in 30 minutes had the house tidy and she told them how proud she was of them. When Mike tried to open the door to the veranda, it couldn’t because all the stuff, clothes, shoes, books etc., were thrown out there!

What stayed with me however was the mother’s advice to Frankie. While the present was sometimes unbearable, she would miss it all when the children were grown and gone. “There will always be toenail moments, but the good times together will outweigh them!”

That’s family life for you!