Often in blogging, as in life, we tend to think that if we don’t have something profound to say then it isn’t worth saying anything. I don’t know about you, but I battle that thought constantly. As in all. the. time.
But my life isn’t constantly profound.
And when I pay attention I remember that I like it that way.
I like this quiet house tucked down a gravel road, surrounded by trees and three Koi ponds that have, miraculously, survived their first winter with us. The sun is coming up warmer each day and our bedroom curtains cast a shadow of slanted grey and white strips across the rug. Our weekends have paused just long enough to catch their breath in between basketball season and before baseball season starts so there’s been timing for dragging all the Polly Pockets and Army Trucks out onto the carpet again in between catching up on loads of laundry.
So on Saturday, I look out across the living room and I remember to actually see it. I remember that this is a room that’s supposed to be lived in.
Don’t despise the days of chaos.
They are the growth rings of motherhood.
Those days are milestones, memories in the making, reminders that these kids and their messes won’t always live at this house.
Sure, I like a tidy house as much as the next girl. But as the kids get bigger, the messes that marked them as children start to get smaller; you can literally feel them out growing everything they once were.
So on Saturday, I remembered to just be still and watch them play. And I took photos of the kind of chaos that used to give me a panic attack. Because I know the days are coming when I will miss this messy afternoon.
There were hair cuts and a special trip to buy hair gel and a comb. I have a boy who will be eleven this year but at night in between his bad dreams and Peter’s snoring, he’s still my first baby. Curled up with one hand under his cheek, I put my face up close enough to feel his puffs of exhaled breath. And I can hear echoes of that baby that made me a mother all those long nights in a thatch roof cottage in South Africa.
These are the days of new beginnings. The days of saying good bye to babyhood. When a friend asked the other day if I had a sippy cup her son could borrow I was astonished to discover that I did not. No sippy cups, no bottles, no diapers or teething toys. We are a household of kids who can walk and talk and help themselves to mac ‘n cheese and fold their own laundry.
Don’t despise the days of chaos because your children won’t leave their trail of childhood across your living room floor forever.
I find this easier to cherish when they’re tucked in bed, asleep, snoring with their puckered little baby lips. It’s harder when they’re making me lose my mind at 10pm because they’re still fighting and whining and griping and not sleeping. But I’ve found a solution to that. And it’s working. Brilliantly.
But some days, some days I pause long enough to notice how beautiful it all is. These boys growing into their man skin – so eager to understand how it all works. Their minds and their muscles and their hair gel and the world of girls. And my daughter with her strong opinions about how I do her hair and what colors of clothes work together. How strong her feelings are about my grey hair when it shows through the hair dye.
This is not a small life. This is a profound life.
All these whispered secrets of three separate childhoods entrusted into my safe keeping. Can my heart possibly hold it all?
At night I run the dishwasher and the garbage disposal and snap at the boy who somehow always manages to get traces of toothpaste on the microwave door handle. There are socks that aren’t matched but they’re all put away. And the baby Hyacinth blooms beside the sink. I ask Peter what the smell reminds him of and he smiles and doesn’t even have to say the words out loud. We both remember. How it smells like spring in South Africa and the sweet breeze that used to blow into our bedroom and across the baby crib when we had no idea what we were doing or how we were surviving.
It’s been a decade.
We have learned some since then.
More than anything I have learned that these messy afternoons and report cards and sports schedules, these whispered prayers and lisped, “I love yous,” are what make my life profound. Who am I to decide that isn’t worth writing down? Who am I to put all that wonder into a tiny box in my mind and label it, “too insignificant to write about.”
That is a lie.
We need your ordinary stories because they are the roots that anchor us in a life that can’t live only on the mountain tops.
We need the car pool. We need the diaper changes. We need the sinks full of dishes and lunches made times a hundred.
Go ahead, give me your beautiful, totally, ordinary stories. I want to hear them all so I can remember never to take mine for granted.
(You’re welcome to click here and share a glimpse into yours in the comments today).