There’s a story in the dishes left in the sink. There’s a story in the Legos strewn across the floor. There’s a story in the Thomas train set scattered among everything else. There’s a story in the sprinkles, crumbs and cupcake wrappers on the kitchen table. There are lots of stories my dirty house says to anyone who will look past the mess and listen.
I sat down the other night and surveyed the absolute mess my house had become. I felt rather disheartened. I have to admit, housekeeping is not my strong suit. I think it’s because of how never ending the cleaning is. In one day, I swept my kitchen floor a minimum of seven times. SEVEN TIMES! I like to be able to check things off a list. When I clean a room, I like it to be done for the day. Check! All done! I did it and don’t need to worry about it again!
But with the introduction of children to my household, that perfect moment of complete clean has eluded me. I sat there, that night, feeling like I’d wasted my day because none of my work and effort in keeping my house clean showed one bit. I looked over to my husband, sighed, and said, “It would all stay so much cleaner if I just let them watch PBS Kids all day.”
He gently chuckled and then kindly said, “I like it better this way.”
It was the perfect answer. I looked at the mess and began to see what each component was telling me.
The dishes were telling me that I had spent my time making homemade food for dinner. And that we all got to sit and eat that food together. They were an example of service and love. And while they needed to be cleaned up, they were a testament of our desire to build a strong, loving, and healthy family.
The Legos were whispering to me of the hour or so spent building and creating that my children enjoyed while I got to rock and nurse the baby. They were telling me how creative and ingenious my children were. They spoke of creating new worlds from imaginations and respecting the baby’s need to have Mom hold her.
The Thomas train set was trying to explain about the happy laughter and time spent with Mommy building a way for Thomas to get from one side of the room to the other. And it told me of baby Godzilla whose favorite part of the building was pulling the pieces apart. They were examples of exploration and patience, creation and reliance.
The crumbs, cupcake wrappers, and sprinkles were singing of the laughter and silliness that filled the air during the impromptu cupcake decorating party we held to celebrate that homework was finished for the night. They were monuments to siblings becoming friends, and children doing something that made them feel grown up.
My house was teaching me something very important that night. It was reminding me that my children were growing so fast. Soon, I’ll miss stepping on Legos; the house says (well maybe not that – stepping on Legos is the most painful thing I can think of). This is my chance to let my children know they are more important than daily grind Mommy deals with. Sooner than I think, my children won’t be making these messes, and I’ll miss the messes. I’ll miss the spontaneous laughter and wanting to play with Mommy more than anything. (But I don’t think I’ll miss stepping on Legos.)
I’m going to listen to my house as it quietly says, “Quiet dishes, laundry go to sleep. Play with your children, because children don’t keep.”