My floor is cluttered with remnants of our day as I write. A ballet tutu recently adored during an afternoon of pirouettes hangs from the chair, a sword lays resting after battle, right smack in the middle of my coffee table and puzzle pieces are strewn all across the dining room. I have scoured our counters and floors again and again today, finding homes for interesting objects, filling our shelves with treasures in small swoops.
Even with more tidying waiting for my hands, I am done…I’m weary and mostly mush, but I’m choosing to stop and just stare at the un-ending scene of it all. Part of my mind never quite settles when there are tasks that lay ready, I get almost itchy with a compulsion to make our space look perfect. It can take over me and until I just see one (just one!) clean surface.
Sometimes when I am on my best behavior, I can make a game out of the tasks that come with the keeping of a home. Other times (which I think are more often) I remind myself of that awful nurse in The Velveteen Rabbit. You know, the one who had no love or understanding of the soul and beauty of the nursery? The one who never understood the real magic that lay behind The Skin Horse, the beloved Rabbit or even the mechanical toys. I always looked on her with such pity as a child. Did she even know she had been this close to something so wonderful and so rare and that she had missed it? How dreary to be that type of grown-up.
I don’t want to miss the magic.
So, tonight I’m determined to stare as long as I have to to find the light and joy in these playthings…the kind of light that small hands seem to see so much more quickly. I ‘m determined to learn how to relish in their wonder, to imagine the world the way my children do.
I’m learning slowly how to let the messes nudge out the decor bit by bit, to let the life of paints and play dough and small armies overtake the place where I wish I could prepare dinner. Over and over again, I know I will scoop up the day, it won’t stop. Sometimes I think the chore of cleaning up after four little ones will last forever… but as the wise women in my life assure me, it won’t. (It really won’t, right?)
When this rhythm fades, when this season is gone, I want the light and memory of what these rooms see and hold to linger with me long after make believe has left our home. I want to leave a memory upon the hearts of my babes too; one that whispers of playfulness and imagination and raucous laughter long into their adult lives.
The memory of a mama delighting sticks.
Right now, when my children look like they’ve been dipped in glitter and peanut butter, when they can’t help but leave a trail of legos and string cheese and dollies behind them… I have a chance to open their hearts and to show them that I see. I see the light too, and I want to dance in it with them. And while we twirl, and I hold their hearts in my mama hug, I will show them how to find the Light that is brighter than all others…I will teach them how to bask in the Son that will light their world long after the season of childhood has passed. I will to show them how to let that Light soak deep and change them.
And so as I write, I’m looking at that sword, remembering the way a dragon fell at the hand of my son, and I think it’s going to stay right where it is.
So how do you find light with your children? How do you find ways to dance and delight and giggle?