There’s a sort of beauty that comes with seeing things in hindsight, right? We notice tiny little things of importance and goodness and often tend to gloss over the not-so-great stuff. Recently, I’ve started approaching my role as a parent with such a perspective. I’m still very much in the thick of raising two toddlers under the age of four, but I’m already seeing how quickly time passes and if it makes any sense at all, I already miss these days, even while I’m living them.
I had such a realization this evening when I was picking up the house before the kids started their baths. I entered my bedroom and was immediately greeted by the tiny chair that my daughter had propped up against the door. She had been trying to reach the top of my dresser earlier, where I keep my necklaces. Then, I saw my son’s toy trucks strewn all over the floral carpet.
For a second, I just stood there and took it all in. Yes, it was a mess and yes I was more than a little irritated that they’d just left it and assumed I’d pick it all up like I always do. Still, it was golden hour and the sun was pouring through the plantation shutters and in that particularly beautiful light, I didn’t really even see the mess. I saw hours of play, joy and laughter.
I closed my eyes and saw my unruffled comforter, pulled tightly at the corners without a single wrinkle. My dresser always stayed dusted and wiped clean on the top and my necklaces were never tangled. I had my diffuser on the nightstand and every night I’d drip in some lavender essential oils and my husband and I would drift off into dreamland, not waking up in the middle of the night for anything, but actually indulging in eight hours of uninterrupted slumber. Yes, it was a sweet time back then, but right now is even sweeter.
Give me the messes and the memories. Give me the toy boxes crammed all the way to the top like a game of Tetris, with tops that won’t close and are about to fall off the hinges. Give me the sticky cupboard drawers with misplaced and mismatched kitchen tools Give me baseboards with the paint nicked off from plastic bike that really should be outdoors but is more fun inside.
It’s not in my nature to tolerate a mess. The younger version of me wouldn’t let the sun set on a sink full of dirty dishes, but here it is close to midnight and their cartoon plates and half-full milk cups are sitting waiting to be washed. I’ll get to them soon and one day this little house that we worked so hard to restore and decorate will look like a showroom again.