The Bucket of Toys

Hank and I fooling around.

                 Hank and Me:   Being Goofy

My kids are grown up.

Almost. Hank is 20 and Helen is 17.

This means the house is pretty neat and organized. Except of course for the mess I make.

I do remember though…when they were younger. There were toys, games, trinkets and dirt scattered about the house pretty much 100% of the time.

And I remember, especially after Helen was born, developing this kind of anxious obsession with trying to keep things picked up.

The two of them would play with any variety of toys and when they were done…the remnants of their joy and discovery would be scattered across the floor:  crayons, paper, glitter containers, Thomas the Tank figures, costumes…well you get the drift.

At one point we bought this big red barrel and would throw the “stuff” in there. One toy out and another one in.

I remember on one particular day both kids were playing alone in their rooms and I took a moment to breathe. I sat down on the old lazy boy chair…and just sat there.

What a luxury I thought!  Relief. Peace. Quiet. At last.

The toys, at least the ones I had control over at that moment…were neatly tossed into the hard red barrel. Tangled up in there but at least “Out of sight. Out of mind.”

And as I sit here this morning quietly breathing in the aroma and warmth of two lit candles, the coffee I brew every morning, I pre-mourn the coming year when Helen will be gone and the house will be neat. I know it’s coming because I felt it when Hank left.

I share this not to be melancholy, but in reflection of what all I missed wanting things to be neatly hidden away in big red barrels…the joy of glitter under fingernails and drifting through hair, the “look mommy…look’s” I missed yearning for the peace and quiet of a cleaned up house…a cleared up mind.

I reflect this morning…as I begin another day in this new “room of work”…on how delicious and joyful and frightening and unsettling and disruptive and frustrating and real and whole and loving life is when I welcome the clutter, the mess, the squishy and scary places of ideas and people who don’t think like me.

And wonder why I was so afraid of them back then…why the need to tuck them away into big red barrels…out of sight, out of mind.

I sit here this morning…in the messiness of our world… and I breathe.

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