Even though I war against clutter and disorganization, I've resigned to the fact that I'm outnumbered by people in my household who don't hold order in the same high esteem that I do. It's forcing me to embrace the chaos.
I do not do this willingly.
I embrace the chaos because, try as I might, I simply cannot keep up with it. Oh, I want to keep up. I devote time and energy to to keep up. Sometimes I actually do keep up -- always a glorious twelve minutes -- but the afterglow dims when I notice that in the time it took me to wind up the vacuum cord someone has scattered a box of 64 crayons, trampled crackers into the carpeting, discarded socks on the kitchen table, placed pizza on the bathroom sink, upended a board game, shredded six sheets of paper to create a bird's nest, or removed the Tupperware containers from the cabinet to use them as hockey pucks down the hallway.
Cleaning up after kids is exhausting and unproductive, like swimming against the tide. You exert such effort only to glace at the shore and realize that you're in the exact same place.
Yet there is one area that I absolutely want to keep unaffected by the chaos. It's our office area -- the simple desk and computer where I write and work. As if my thoughts and my productivity are directly correlated with the room's organizational state, I covet order here.
The other afternoon I settled myself at the computer, opened a document, and started to write. I couldn't shake the sensation that something was off.
Then I noticed. My daughter's stuffed animal was perched on the computer desk, and he was staring at me. Really staring at me.
The kind of stare that bores holes into your head.
The kind of stare that creeps you out with its unblinking intensity.
The kind of stare that makes grown men faint of heart and weak of knee. The kind of stare that makes a woman sitting at her computer desk roll her chair back in alarm because those black-ringed amber eyes are so deeply unsettling.
I've finally found something more distracting than mere clutter. It's those beady eyes.