Loud voices. Pots and pans clinking. Music blaring. Dogs barking.

It is just another Friday night and I find myself stuck at home, not being able to hear myself think. My family is gathered in our small living room and I think the walls are about to burst, along with my head. My father is watching television with the volume way too loud, to try and combat my mother’s voice as she sings the National Anthem on the top of her lungs. It is not even the Fourth of July. My mother is also the one clanging all the pots and pans together as she searches for something I do not even think we own, and I am pretty sure she is burning all the food. My two sisters and my brother-in-law are all telling a story, three different stories to be exact, which I occasionally add my input in. My two little nephews are running around the house and screaming their heads off, literally and figuratively bouncing off the walls. My nine month old Australian Shepherd is chasing his butt and yipping, probably wondering why he does not have a tail. And there I am in the middle of it all, trying to block out all the noise and attempting to make my grand escape into my room. However, all I can think is that this is a lot different than last Friday.

    Head thrown back over the back of the couch, legs stretched out in front of me, muscles tense, eyes skittering. Smoke is in the air, filling my lungs. I can feel the thump of music through my heart, even though the lyrics have pointless meanings. Muffled voices reach my ears, and I wonder what the name is of the person talking. I only came to this party to prove that I could fit in with this crowd and keep a rebellious reputation with my friends, half of these people I don’t even know. No one truly cares about me here, the boy I danced with only had one thing on his mind. Pretending to be someone I am not is turning out to be very exhausting.

    I am thrown out of my memory by loud laughs, and I quickly survey my surroundings. My puppy is curled up in my lap, looking up at me with beautiful brown puppy eyes. One of my nephews is by my side with his cold toes tucked under my leg, my other one beside him. My father has finally chosen a television show, Impractical Jokers, which is the cause of all the cackling laughs. I look over to my sisters and brother-in-law and see them with their heads thrown back, tears streaming down their faces, and clutching their stomachs. The delicious smell of chicken pot pie makes my mouth water, and I see my mom start carrying plates in for everyone.

    I realize that this Friday night is not as ordinary as I originally thought. Every moment spent with my family is amazing, and I am lucky to have them. Ordinary moments can have a lot of meaning, it just depends on who you spend them with.

    Family. Laughter. Love. Extraordinary.