Living together as a team

The following is an except from the Book Switched On – The Heart and Mind of a Special Agent by Eric Caron

“Our family lived in a modest cottage with a single bathroom for all nine of us—two adults and seven kids whose ages ranged within one decade of pregnancies and births. With such a large family, teamwork was essential. Without it, our daily lives would have been chaotic.

Interestingly, being raised as a team seemed to immunize us kids against sibling rivalry. I have many wonderful memories related to being part of such a large family, including parties, the constant flow of siblings’ friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, and listening to music that spanned several decades.

We also learned that patience was a virtue in the Caron clan. Our patience was tested each and every morning for nearly fifteen years, with just one bathroom that measured five by five and featured one single sink. Getting ready for church on any given Sunday, for example, was quite the production.

The Caron clan bathroom dance went like this: The line would start at six o’clock each and every morning. My dad was usually first into the bathroom to shave so he could make police roll call. Meanwhile Mom was busy in the kitchen preparing breakfast and packing our lunch boxes. Then the line for the bathroom went pretty much in order of age.

Deb entered the bathroom first and brushed her teeth. Sue entered and used the toilet, then Deb entered the shower. Sue then moved over to the sink to brush her teeth. Lynn then entered, and used the toilet as Deb jumped out of the shower. Sue then got into the shower. Deb left the bathroom in a towel and Lynn brushed her teeth while Cheryl used the toilet.

By the time Eddie and I entered into the bathroom dance, most of the hot water was gone. So, to add to the morning excitement, we would intentionally flush the toilet and listen to our sisters scream. That was our only hope of getting them out of the shower so we could have a shot at some warm water. Our youngest sister Michelle, who went in after us, had no chance at all.

This organized chaos went on for more than an hour every single morning, with three to four kids using the toilet, brushing their teeth, shaving, showering and/or blow-drying their hair.

The Caron bathroom dance prepared us for life’s challenges. It taught us early in life that patience is necessary to live in harmony, and teamwork is essential to be successful in anything you do. If we were all to make it out the door in time to make it to the school bus stop a few blocks away, we needed patience and the help of each other. My older sisters were always helping Eddie and me get dressed for school and making sure we had our homework completed and in hand. There was certainly no letter “I” in the Caron team.”

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