There is something very special about spending time in a quiet home, particularly one that shows signs of recent loud, activity. My solitary sojourns through my home in the morning, after the kids have gone to school, is something I do often. It is a time to reflect, or regroup after what is often a very hectic morning.
Our homes are such a reflection of who we are and how we live. I have heard people say that if your cushions are fluffed to perfection you are clearly not taking enough time to rest. Or, if your home is too perfectly showcased, you are not living your life to its greatest potential. In my mind, I have the perfect home. It is large and orderly. Clean and fresh. The reality, however, is something else entirely! Despite my constant efforts, the messes are never-ending, my rooms small and cramped. As my baby crawls from one room to the next, he leaves a path of destruction in his wake. Baskets emptied, cupboard contents strewn about, toys everywhere. And my two older girls are no better! Clothes that never seem to make it into the hamper, but land on the floor right beside it. At least those clothes are in the general area unlike their companions who fight for floor space in the bedrooms along side books and toys, musical instruments and inappropriately dressed Barbies.
With baby tucked in his crib for his morning nap, the house suddenly quiets and I’m off. As I walk lightly from room to room, I can see everything taking place in a ghostly re-enactment. The noises from each room echoing in my mind. Suddenly, my feelings of aggravation turn to fondness as I gaze around at the signs of life. The lid of the toothpaste in the sink reminds me of the girls jostling for position, the unmade beds of their warm little bodies resisting my wake up tickles (or hollers), the clothes strewn across the bedroom floors of their frantic search for the right outfit….
“ Mom, are there any clean clothes in the dryer?”
“ Mommy, I can’t find any socks!”
Breakfast dishes on the table, half-finished glasses of juice, a forgotten school book…
“The teacher wants this test signed for school…”
“I need money for pizza day on Friday.”
Baby’s juice cup on the floor where it fell and wasn’t found…
“Sweetie, grab the baby! He’s heading for the dog dish!”
A hairbrush on the couch. My unfinished cup of coffee, long gone cold, by the toaster…
“Can you give me a high ponytail?”
The desk in the living room shows clues to a spontaneous work of art, with pencil shavings, opened glue sticks and cuttings of coloured paper left behind…
But it is these messes that write the story of my life. There will come a time when my sojourns through my quiet home will not be reserved for when the children have gone to school, but rather a constant reality in my life when my little birds have flown the nest for good. So, until then, I will embrace the chaos that is my life, and savour the (squalor) that surrounds me. It tells me that I am needed, and that I am blessed. And, that I am living my life to its greatest potential.