Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Exposing Who We Are...

Yesterday, I was straightening up our home. I cannot say it is a job I enjoy but it is a necessary component of my day. Often, as I move from room to room, I can feel my frustration levels rise. With four kids living here and our very full schedule bringing a challenge to most days, it is easy for the house to get pretty messy, pretty quickly. As I work, I often feel a little put out as I pick up things I did not leave around. There is a voice in my head that says, "Look, they are taking advantage of you. See? They know you will pick it up, so they leave it for you to do."

I hate that voice. I hate that feeling.

And yet... there is a truth to it all, too. Right?

That is not a fun way to clean. Not at all. And the truth of the matter is, cleaning is a part of life. No matter how much I hate it, no matter how frustrating it is, I will have to do it anyway. Uplifting blog post, huh? :)

I am not sure what happened yesterday, but for a few minutes I began to see the task differently. For a little while, as I cleaned up other people's messes, I realized that all those many things told me something about the person who left them laying about.

Let me explain.

As I went into the living room, the throw pillows that belong on the couch, were tossed onto the floor. As I picked them up, I remembered Josiah and EB tickling each other before school and in their rolling about, the pillows fell off the couch.

In cleaning up the bay window, I found an assignment guide of Noah's that helps him to know what math problems are to be done each night. Half the sheet is scratched off and I was reminded about how easily that has happened for him this year. The math teachers in middle school have helped him to understand the subject I always hated the most. Now, he loves it and works through the assignments with no struggle, no stress, no trouble at all. My son loves math.

As I straightened the kitchen, I found a stuffed white bunny on the island, next to a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Josiah's most beloved lovey, White Bunny (who is not very white anymore...) leaves the bed with him each morning and lands somewhere in his morning routine. Yesterday morning, White Bunny made it to breakfast. And by bedtime, we were all searching for him so Josiah could sleep. I love seeing my sweet boy carrying around that ratty old rabbit, each and every morning.

I entered the dining room and noticed immediately that there was sand beneath my feet. On the table were two models from ancient Egypt. Benjamin was given an assignment a couple weeks back to write a research paper on Egypt and then to do a project. For my over-achiever, one project is never enough. He came home and told us that he wanted to recreate both a pyramid and the Sphinx. After much squishing of clay, and rolling said clay in bunches of sand, the models are complete and drying on the dining room table. How Benjamin loves a job well done!

I also came across:

-Noah's open book on the arm of the couch.
-Two pages of the story Josiah is writing.
-Benjamin's shin guards and soccer socks from his play-off game.
-Elizabeth's baby doll's pajamas and fully dressed doll.
-Four cups of water
-Two markers
-A book list for school
-Three small candy wrappers
-A dog bone

As I finished my work and got ready to head off to school to pick up my kids, I just had to smile. Instead of focusing on the fairness of the work, I focused instead on the family for which I am working. In paying attention to the task at hand, my family had been exposed. Their likes and hobbies and beloved things... all of this surrounded me and I was enfolded in bits of their young lives.

My head was full of pictures. Pictures of my kids playing soccer and rolling out of bed. Pictures of them smiling and laughing and playing together. Pictures of homework getting done, snacks being eaten, projects getting accomplished, toys being played with, books being read... Pictures of... life. Life lived together in this humble space.

Yesterday, I spent time cleaning my house. It is not a job I enjoy but I sure love the people reflected in this work.

Blessings on your day.


Stephanie said...

Ooo...this is a toughy for me lately. Picking up leaves me incredibly annoyed, keeping a tally in my head, reminding me that I am really still just 13 years old in my attitude.
I'm gonna TRY to have a different attitude....try. Maybe I should unclench my teeth first. :)

Mary said...

Thanks for a new perspective, Nadia! Definitely one of the more "chore-y" feeling tasks of the day.