When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I take a deep breath, throw my shoulders back, and remind myself to read between the Legos–and the crusty blobs of rice cereal and last night’s spaghetti sauce smeared on the back of my old kitchen chairs.
It’s not that I don’t clean. (And isn’t that the mantra of moms everywhere?) I generally go to bed with the house picked up, the kitchen clean, and things mostly in order for the next day. I make my bed in the morning. Well, most mornings. I really do wipe off those kitchen chairs almost every day. I vacuum and clean bathrooms regularly. I generally keep up with the laundry quite admirably if I do say so myself.
But if you come over to my house at any given point, chances are you’ll trip on a Lego. Or spot a stain of unknown origin on the carpet. Or find all the vowels from the ABC fridge magnets in between my couch cushions–when you sit on them.
Sorry about that.
And chances are that there might be a little red Croc or a copy of Goodnight Moon or my curling iron in the trash can in the kids bathroom (the Guest Bathroom to you).
And chances are there will be dishes stacked up in the sink and clean dishes still in the dishwasher.
And chances are there will be a pair of muddy little jeans and a pile of wilted pink azalea blooms outside the front door.
If you read between the Legos, you’ll see that Goodnight Moon is in the trash can because Gabriel and I had a tickle fight last night before bath time and the book got knocked off the top of the toilet into the trash can–unbeknowst to Gabriel’s tickle fight attacker.
The dishes are stacked in the sink because Mommy stopped doing chores last night and watched a movie with Daddy on the couch–instead of emptying the dishwasher and finishing the dishes.
The muddy jeans and blooms outside the front door are remnants of a family walk we took yesterday afternoon. Gabriel laughed his heart out hopping through all the puddles in the sidewalk and getting soaked to the skin. When we got home, he wanted to collect all the wilted azalea blooms that had fallen off our azalea bush by the front door. He started counting to ten over and over in his sweet, high little voice, and Faith started laughing at him with her squeaky baby dinosaur laugh. Then Gabriel started laughing at her laughing at him and then we were all laughing so hard we had tears in our eyes.
Most of the time–at least at my house–reading between the Legos will open your eyes to happy, healthy, growing children and a loving family. There are things I could do better. There are ways I could be more disciplined in my home-making and parenting and personal habits. I could dust more. I’m working on it.
In the meantime, friends are always welcome at our home. It is a true pleasure to me to at least attempt to keep a warm, friendly, relatively orderly home for my family and for guests. Michael and I both have a heart for welcoming every person who walks through our front door (which has tons of little dirty handprints all over it by the way).
But if you happen to come by when the house isn’t exactly looking its best–if you have to step over a blanket fort maybe, or spot some Cheerios lined up in a row on the windowsill–thanks in advance for reading between the Legos.