I couldn't help myself. During my normal cleaning this weekend, I indulged my obsessive compulsive tendencies: I gathered and sorted. All of the farm animals that had been strewn around the house were finally corralled at the Fisher Price toy barn. Individual blocks were reunited as a set after being cast under couches and haphazardly stowed. My Little Ponies joined up in the third drawer in the plastic bins when they originally lived. Crayons and markers found their places in containers. Book were straightened, puzzles were pulled together, and loose game pieces were grouped.
It was beautiful -- for about an hour.
Brooke dumped out the drawer and merged the My Little Ponies with the farm animals. Reese upended the crafts and scattered the crayons across the kitchen table. Glue sticks! Yarn! Stickers! (She has an innate need to create.) Blocks mixed with puzzle pieces. Cheez-Its were dropped and trampled, leaving orange crumbs embedded in the berber carpet. Sippy cups (note: sippy cups are always plural in our house; there's never just one in circulation) began springing up on end tables and discovered on the floor, overturned and empty.
There is so much doing and un-doing in parenthood. We button buttons, snap snaps, and zipper zippers just to undo them moments later. We sort and gather items that will be scattered and dispersed. It's an exercise in futility, really, but there's beauty in the routine. There's clarity in the order, even if that order lasts only for an hour.
It's like making the bed in the morning even when you know you'll turn down the covers again at the end of the day. You do these basic tasks because they bring structure, even that structure isn't permanent. You do them because with all the disorder in the world, it sometimes feels good to have one area -- even just the third drawer designated for ponies -- ordered.