Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Partially Dirty is the New Clean

Right now as I'm sitting here typing, I have spit up in my hair.  Kerrington had impeccable aim and my dodging reflexes were slow.  I fed her.  She spit.  I got nailed.  Now a small section of my hair is a throwback to the 1980's scrunched and gelled style -- just a bit crispy to the touch.

Let me be perfectly clear here: I have a thing for cleanliness and order.  I thrive on organized closets and aligned contents in cupboards.  I function better when my space is structured.  Still, the perpetual quest to keep things neat and tidy can be exhausting, especially because kids live in diametric opposition to this.  Just watch a child for a moment and you'll realize that there's something freeing about embracing mess, even if it gives me a headache.  Kids will get into dirt, sit on the floor, and let the art supplies scatter across the table and roll onto the floor without ever noticing.

They're in the moment, rather than distracted by the thought of holding things together.  They're fully invested, rather than concerned about keeping up appearances.

The other day my daughters played with Play Doh.  It started on the table, but somehow they ended up on the floor.  One sat and rolled Play Doh snakes on the linoleum.  The other lay on her back, holding Play Doh shapes aloft in the air. I  scanned the floor.  The Play Doh was being dredged through typical kitchen floor grit: dried out shredded cheese that escaped my sweeping after from last night's dinner, random fuzzies, crumbs from toast, scraps of paper from the day's earlier craft project, and a few once-soggy but now shrunken Cheerios.

The girls didn't care that their clothes could get dirty or their hair would get messed up.  They were too busy living.  So, what's a mom to do?  I found myself a space on the floor and joined them.

It'll all come out in the wash.

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