Last night I spent too much time on Pinterest, I spent too much time looking at pictures of perfection and the comparison between the perfection and my abs, my makeup, my hideously messy house, my stacks of clean laundry – Well – I got a little tight in the chest and clutchy in my breath.
I’ve been trying to figure out the now and the next. I’ve been trying to get my act together.
Last night, I thought about the last week. Alex’s room is meticulously clean after he and I spent last Sunday cleaning it together in exchange for a LEGO Prisoner Transport. (Legos are hot currency around here – I can get him to clean and sleep through the night in his own bed using them.)
The rest of the house is a pit of dispair.
Except for it’s not.
I thought about why the laundry has been sitting out all week. Well, part of that is procrastination, another part is just not buckling down and doing it.
What did I choose instead?
I chose Alex – we have read books, watched every Busytown Mysteries on Netflix, discussed the intricacies of Huckle Cat’s day, gone to soccer, cuddled on the couch, gone to church, gone to school, done homework, talked about his day, made his lunches.
I chose M’love – we have spooned, slept, showered, bought a 55 year old WWII era gun, field stripped it, greased it, discussed it, shot it – we have watched Scrubs and HIMYM, we have discussed politics, world events, cooked dinners . . . I chose the man who, when Alex was missing his daddy yesterday, turned off what he wanted to do and put on Alex’s current favorite show. The man who marketed a BIG OLE PEPPERONI PIZZA for dinner to make Alex smile when he was sad.
I chose my work – That job I love – I spent almost 40 hours there this week – (I played hooky on Friday afternoon but I was there for PTO and Open House on Thursday night) – I supported coworkers, I tried to be the good instead of the bad, I was joyous in working with my students, I showed kids who weren’t even my responsibility that someone gave a damn about them, I had meetings, I completed paperwork, I was conscientious, I was a damn good employee. (Except for the hooky part – but I didn’t have anything on my schedule and I would have sat in my office and done pretty much nothing – might as well cash out that sick day and go home.)
I even chose Scout – Which people tend to be amazed when the ex-husband is considered a priority – but I’m a much better ex-wife than I was ever a wife – I gave him a place to land for 2 days so he could do the job most important to him – be the daddy to Alex. I supported his parenting, I gave him the space to be the parent for as long as he could, and I rebuilt the Lego Fire house he accidentally shattered while trying to clean up that meticulous Alex room – before Alex got home from school.
I was a neighbor, a daughter, a friend.
I realized last night, that while I may not have YET figured out how to keep a clean house, while I may have put on five pounds of happy fat and my jeans don’t fit again, while I may not have all the money I might like to have – The mess in my world is a sign of all the better things I have chosen to focus on. The mess is a sign of LIVING this awesome life, which is a change for me, usually mess is a sign that the corners of my brain are not okay.
I have everything I have ever truly wanted. I love my house, my car, my job, my son, M’love, my family. I need nothing more. My next lesson to learn is how to take care of what I have.
My mom had this newspaper clipping on the fridge most of my life. I think it was part of an Erma Bombeck column:
“On judgement day, if God should say
Did you clean your house today?
I would say
I did not
I played with my children
And I forgot.
Our house was always a mess, but I have some pretty amazing memories of hanging out with my mom. Embrace the joy. The laundry will get done eventually.
That sound you can’t quite hear over the giggles of your child is me cheering you on from thousands of internet-miles away.
This is so damn awesome.