I am someone who likes order in the house, at the end of the days the toys put in a toy box, and the childhood litter of crayons, bikes, toys, books and dolls set away when I can. But recently I have had many situations where I am struck with how old the kids are getting and just how fast their childhoods are going by.
Those moments of clarity have helped me loosen a little where I need too. When the tree was taken down a few weeks ago in its place the baby area of the living room was created. A baby stroller, three plastic drawers for doll clothes, cradles, a doll highchair and all. All of these lovely items that I would really, really love to tuck into a room off to the side. But you know what, toys tucked away aren't enjoyed. Kids like to be where the mama and family are and I am not spending my days in the corner of the guest room or basement. I realize that some day my kids won't want to be near me. They will want to go off on their own like most kids do. They will stretch their wings, search out their independence and tuck what is dear to them away from the rest of us. But today I can be thankful that isn't today.
And these are the thoughts and memories I have to hold onto dearly as I see the living room once again explode. Yes, the kids will have it picked up by nightfall but there is no way shape or form that my house will look like a model home at all. With the doll area by the stairs and the village (an area of Abigail's, Naomi's and Ethan's doll houses and fire station) next to the couch our home is very much a home of toddlers and preschoolers. But when I think of today I think of now and try to be thankful for what this mess tells me. It shows me that my kids are here, in the middle of everything playing, they are also playing with the doll clothes my grandma made me as a child (so fun to see things come back to life 30 years later), and they are playing together with each other and with me. Sometimes I dream about setting things right and them staying that way. No little person spilling milk on the just cleaned floor, tearing the couch cushions apart for a fort, toys staying in the assigned bin or basket - played with and then returned. But that would mean my kids were grown up and gone. That is not something I look forward too at all. So for now the mess will come and go. I might just be found sorting the doll clothes into the appropriate bins and redressing the cabbage patch dolls after the kids are in bed but you know what, that is my way to being in the moment and having a little bit of order at the same time. For now that works. And the kids like to think that the cabbage patch dolls have parties at night and that is why they look different each morning. I do make sure they are tucked into their cradles, call me obsessive I just can't help it. Each doll needs to be in place.