It’s 6:30 am and my kids have re-started the fantasy game they began the previous evening up until Mom and Dad told them they had to stop because it was dinner and bedtime, promising they could play again in the morning. As soon as their little bodies and big imaginations woke up, the dragon was back to chasing the princess, and little brother was running behind screeching with delight. I direct them into their bedroom to play for a while because Mommy is not ready to have running and yelling around the house just yet. “Make your beds and get dressed first, then play,” I command as they file into the girls’ bedroom, dragon stuffed animal and doll in hand.
I finish getting dressed and then peek into the room to check the progress. All three of them are jumping around their unmade beds chasing each other around half naked. I think to myself, Wouldn’t it be more fun to play on a nicely made bed with everything in order? I am tempted to pop in and encourage a group clean up, but I understand that I would just be the depressing frumpy troll interfering with the capture of a dragon. Their giddy smiles would turn to frowns, their bouncing bodies would sulk and they would be sad that their story has no end. I don’t want to be the one to ruin the fun. So, I decide to wait until they have played out their imaginary tale and try again in half an hour.
I realize I am a bit envious of their ability to see past the mess and disorganization and become completely absorbed in the moment or imaginary world they have created. A pile of blankets shoved in the corner is a bolder with a monster hiding behind it. The storybooks scattered across the floor are lily pads, their only path to safety. The clothes hanging out of dresser drawers are the vines and foliage of the swampland. The dolls and stuffed animals strewn about are lives that need to be captured or saved and the upturned laundry basket is a cage. And apparently it is best to fight dragons and save princesses wearing nothing but your underwear.
As woman of house, it is easy to busy yourself keeping the house clean and in order. And with three kids in the house it is almost an endless cycle. What precious moments am I missing by investing my time into having things neat and orderly before I allow myself to do what I really want? I can remember being just like them once. I can remember driving my mom nuts with my creations in the house to create a specific world for myself and insist that it not be taken down, even if it was in the middle of the living room of our small ranch house. I do remember she allowed me the freedom to create and put up with my “mess”. I was like them once and saw ordinary things as something more. I saw them for whatever I needed them to be and that sometimes a mess is just what you need.
I love when my kids give me a fresh reminder of what is truly good in life and what I don’t want to miss while I am so “busy.” So, while I still have the strong Danny Tanner belief that a clean home is a happy home and life is much easier when organized, there are important times when you should close your eyes so you don’t see the mess and just listen to the laughter.