I’ve hated the messes for as long as I can remember.
I like things tidy. I like things put together. I like my favorite overused phrase: Everything has a home. So get your junk and take it to its home…sweetie.
I like things clean. At least the counters and floors. Oh, and the walls. I like the walls without all the prints and smudges.
Is that so much to ask?
I’ve been asking that question almost a decade. Since the first little bull-in-a-china-shop grew big enough to clunk around and bump around and rub his little prints around.
I never really wanted the answer. We share this home with four little tornadoes (of varying intensities). They see this as space to run and roam and play hide and seek in. Space to sort and create and build and spread out in. Space to bring their friends into, to leave doors swung wide open and carry sticks and rocks and turtles and birds into.
They see this as the kind of place with a good pantry to raid for lemonade and disposable cups for their next new business. And the kind where mattresses become slides and closets become candy-wrapper collection areas. The kind where sleepovers happen often and carpets reveal marker stains and walls bear gloss stains, because some days the whole place becomes the artists’ canvas.
Most days, the whole place becomes the canvas, all these artists painting life on these walls.
Often I fight for my own art in this place–for the pretty, in its place, sorted and organized, chosen and scrutinized, put together, “as it should be” kind of art.
But they fight harder for theirs–the messy, mismatched, scattered in every space, the loved and discarded, any and everywhere kind.
They live life loud and in my face, and some days, I know I spend too much time and energy cleaning the life up after them.
But some days, it’s like I peek behind the curtain of all my tomorrows. The mess is okay there, and I know it.
Because the mess reveals the life they’re in the process of enjoying. That life is better than just okay with me. That life is my life now. My best life now.
It’s the childhood they’ll always carry with them, the days of building together this family I’ll always carry with me.
These days are the icing on my favorite cake, even though it’s too much at times. Though it leaves a mess and sometimes stains. Though it gets sticky and everywhere. Though it stretches me and steals my comfort. I’d order it again, or make it myself. Again and a thousand times more.
Even though it’s the kind of life that can never be contained, this mix of mess and art and life and glory, the way we spend our days.