My family came to visit this weekend for Princess’ birthday party and like always I worried about how clean my house wa wanting it to look it’s best for them, as if a clean house would prove that I’m a good mom, that I have it all under control. I remember as a child watching my mom scramble and sweat while she scrubbed and vacuumed and folded and dusted and windexed in anticipation of my grandparent’s visits. I remember the stress and exhaustion that always preceded and followed each visit while the moments in between were wonderful. I remember thinking it was silly, that they were family, they loved us and were there to see us.. not to inspect how clean the house was.
Now, I’m the mom.. the one to whose house the grandparents are coming and I find myself doing the same thing.. not quite to the level that my mom did but, the same vacuuming and pleading with the kids to PLEASE not mess up their rooms, pick up those shoes, put that toy back in it’s box…
So the family came, and it was fun. Princess stayed at the hotel each night with my parents, and my mom read Monkey his bedtime books and I caught wonderful moments on camera like Monkey and Grandpa playing piano together
We cooked and ate and played and my dad provided the soundtrack for our weekend as he sat on the couch playing his banjo with Monkey looking on with awe and Princess drawing pictures and writing stories.
My parents went into Princess’ room and helped clean it, my dad even crawled under the bed to pull things out.. as I was walking past the room I overheard him say this to Nathan: “You know, my Dad always told me that there would come a time where he could spend the whole day mowing the yard and cleaning house. But that time is not when your children are young. Spend the time with now because there will be a day where they aren’t young anymore. ”
It stopped me. I know that, I do. I’ve told people that over and over again and yet, I find myself stressing when their rooms are messy and there are days I drive myself to distraction trying to keep the house clean and fussing at them for not putting things where they belong.
But not anymore. I am going to try to do better.
I’m going to smile at the broken crayons and tattered pieces of paper covered with scribbles because those are my children’s dreams and imaginations… those pictures are more priceless than any art that has ever graced the walls of the Louvre. The trail of cheerios going down my hall… those are the monster catching snacks and I’m going to leave them there while they play.
I’m going to concentrate more on the memories, more on the silly times and more on their laughter. I’m going to spend more time messing up, building forts and chasing lions and spend less time worrying about how my house looks to others.
My house may not always be clean but my children’s hearts will always be full. After all, in 15 years they won’t remember if the kitchen floor was mopped every day, or if the bathroom mirror was streak free. But, they will remember that their mom played with them, laughed with them and encouraged their imaginations.