a giant mountain of mess still = love

May 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm Leave a comment

Making a gigantic mess in the shape of a fort, millions of flower petals, three thousand blankets, spilled milk and cereal has nothing to do with how my children feel about me, how much they appreciate me, or how much they do, or do not, notice the amount of work I do in the house.

Even when the mess is made on Mother’s Day.

Nathan and I tried to eke out a few minutes of snuggle time on Sunday morning, a very rare treat but one that I wanted to give myself.  I’m usually up first thing in the morning because Echo still needs me and wants me to rise when she does. A few minutes after her froggy voice sings out Morning!, we are stumbling into the early morning light that floods the living room. But this particular morning, for some reason, she was willing to let her sisters accompany her into the waking world. I’m no fool and took advantage of the rare opportunity to lounge a little bit. But as I lay in Nathan’s arms watching the clouds float past the window I could also hear the noises as our three children played.

I heard fort assembly, which isn’t my top choice as it involves shoddy construction, desperately balanced heavy objects, and every inch of available living space, but I didn’t say a word. I heard cereal eating, which sounded tame enough. And I heard plans for “stocking the fort” with food which I managed to stop with a loud shout at the last minute from the comfort of my pillow. It all sounded manageable, so when I did finally rise and step out of the bedroom I couldn’t find the words to express my shock.

I think I made one of those high-pitched inhaled wails. Followed by an Oh my god!

Messes are nothing new. Forts are nothing new. But it was Mother’s Day. Don’t children know that that means a pristine house? Don’t they know that means tranquility and pretty dresses? Don’t they know?

No. They don’t.

They love me. They like it that I am their mom, or stepmom, and that has nothing to do with fort building. And no, they don’t notice how much work I do around the house. Or if they do, they assume I am doing it because I want to. In fact, the mess on Mother’s Day was so huge that I pulled out the vacuum. The girls played around me as I sucked up glitter, rose petals, and cereal from the living room rug. And at one point I stopped the machine temporarily in order to pull up my pants or something mundane like that and Xi said: Finally! You’re done! with an eye roll, a lot of attitude, and exasperation. I almost throttled her, and nearly choked on my words as I spit out that I was only needing to vacuum because they had torn the shit out of the living room.

But really. I didn’t have to vacuum. In the case of vacuuming I do it because I want the living room clean, not because it is imperative to our survival. So they are right. In any case, it isn’t their job to notice how much work I do around the house, and loving me on Mother’s Day doesn’t mean they would ever think of not building a fort. They are simply being themselves. And as I sucked up debris I was being myself, in fact I wouldn’t even have mentioned it except that it felt so ironic. It was as though my life were a sarcastic greeting card. A trashed home and a vacuuming mother with a banner strung across it all: Happy Mother’s Day! It was hilarious.

I think it was actually the perfect start as it cautioned me to not take the day too seriously, to revel in my children instead and keep my expectations low. And the day was rad. Nathan did the dishes, I received awesome hand drawn construction paper cards, we bought flowers for Bella’s mom, and Xi’s mom, we drank latte’s, we hiked a mountain, we went out for dinner, and we watched a movie. Heaven.


Entry filed under: parenting principles. Tags: , , .

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