Cherish The Mess

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That little note says, “James’ and Luke’s room. Where toys are family. Where toys are alive.” 🙂

I have been in a couple scary car accidents, I’ve been through horrifying haunted houses, (like twice when I was very young – I’m not a big fan), I’ve had health scares, painful childbirth, I’ve watched my marriage crumble a couple times……but nothing, nothing frightens me like “spring” cleaning the children’s rooms.

I know it’s not technically spring, but for whatever reason the bug hit me today and I am in freak out cleaning mode. The children are thrilled to have the day off of school, but not so thrilled to be going through their mounds of junk. I’m not even joking when I say frightening. Most days when I walk in, I walk right back out feeling defeated, and a bit afraid I’ll see a mouse and have to deal with it. They save, (ie..horde), everything! I’m not sure if they are sweet and sentimental or just too lazy to find a garbage can.

After filling several garbage bags to donate and several more actually full of garbage, I was exhausted. Like, physically worn out. I couldn’t help but wonder if that’s normal? I was already imagining the sympathy I’d be requiring of my husband when he gets home, (simple dinner, no sex) but knew it would be one of those times where when I say why I am exhausted, it sounds so lame. Don’t you hate that? He always tries to sympathize, but I think if I were him I’d think, “Jeez…really? Cleaning bedrooms means leftovers for dinner and right to sleep in bed?” Anyway – I got off track…..

I did feel highly accomplished as I stepped back and admired our efforts in the girls’ room. They could now close the closet door and I had peace of mind knowing there were no creatures living under their beds.

My boys are both old enough to clean on their own. So are the girls, but I helped them more because Charlotte is only six and gets fatigued quickly when any effort beyond what her self centered six year old self feels like doing. (both the boys share a room as do the girls)

After looking with relief at the girls’ room, whose floor was now begging to be vaccumed, I went to the boys’ room prepared to get another rush of, “I am woman, (mommy), hear me roar!” Nope – it was more like, “I am woman, (mommy), see my shoulders slouch in defeat.” Their handsome, angelic faces looked up at me with a genuine look in their eyes, waiting for a compliment on their not so hard work. The photo above shows what I found after they felt they were finished.

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Sigh….they’re so darn cute, and since they made room on their floor, they truly felt the room was clean. Never mind the piles of who knows what shoved in corners and under desks.

My instant feeling of disappointment was replaced with feelings of time flying, and knowing I will miss these messy rooms someday. Not the mess and mystery orders….but the little papers I find with love notes to me or artwork that will change in style as they grow. They save every happy meal toy, every stuffed animal even when they no longer play with them. When I suggest they get rid of them, they look at me like I am crazy, saying, “But mom, each one has meaning.” Then I feel a tad shallow.

I made a couple suggestions to make the room a bit better, collected all the papers and guessed who drew or wrote what and in what year so I could write it on each one. I know I am not the only mom who does that. We do it because we know – we know we will want to remember. I can guarantee I’ll be sitting, sobbing someday as I dig through a keepsake box, longing for the children’s messy, smelly rooms.