I walked in the house the other night and saw the remnants of the day scattered around the living and dining room. Books over here, toys over there, unfinished pictures and markers on the table. Random socks dotting the floor, along with crumbs and bits of paper, and little t-shirts and pants in piles where daytime clothes became pajamas.
And you know something? For the very first time, maybe the only time ever in my life, I didn’t freak out. I looked upon the glorious mess and my heart was actually lifted by the signs of life around me! It’s a common sight in our home – all the things lying around all the time. It’s truly the project that is never quite finished! Every day, we fill up and spill over this space. Yes, it is work to clean it up – and yes, since our kids are still pretty young, we’re heavily involved in the supervising and helping of said cleaning – but I had this realization in that moment that felt like I had sprouted wings and flew away from the stress of our mess.
It was simply this: we are a lively family of six people who all have our own plans and dreams and goals for this shared space we live in. And while those plans and dreams and goals don’t always align, one thing is for certain – we are living here together, and we are making a home with each other, enthusiastically pursuing our interests. But guess what? One day that will change. They’ll be enthusiastically pursuing their interests in their own homes, and this space will hold the memories of running and playing and laughing and creating and resting and recharging and building relationships with the ones they hold dear.
Can I just be honest? This is something I have to work with in my heart most days, because kid mess can really drain the life out of you if you let it. Thankfully the older kids are getting to be experts at cleaning up the thing they are playing with before pulling something else out, but we still have littles who are exploring the world around them with great curiosity! And instead of freaking out over the mess like I used to, I’m starting to adopt the famous Miss Frizzle quote from “The Magic Schoolbus”. Right before they go on their adventure, she always says, “Time to take chances, make mistakes and get messy!”
This year, I vow to keep the top of the piano cleared of clutter so I can have a nice vase of fresh flowers on it instead of junk. But other than that, it’s a free-for-all. We are going to learn to get messy and learn how to clean it up all together, even if it takes all day!
Here’s to letting MY living room go, and letting it become OUR living room!