Photo: That is a playroom so clean you can eat off the floor. But, you wouldn’t, because that would be weird. But you could. I don’t think I’ve seen it since clean since we had the carpet was installed. It’s a miracle.
I confess that I started this week with a very bad attitude. I’ve been crawling through a particularly unpleasant freelance project with a significant deadline for today. February break always seems to sneak up on me and it’s always extraordinarily inconvenient. Top it all off with rich neighbors coming back with tans and tales of fabulous trips and, well… it’s an annoying week.
I set low expectations for everyone. There was chatter from The Husband and boys about popping into a museum in Worcester. I patiently reminded The Husband that he has never been home for February break and so doesn’t have the foggiest idea what a kid museum looks and feels like this week. It felt real, real good to squash that idea. I said that my priorities for the week were to clean that playroom, get these birthday thank-you notes written, and get my freelance project done. Anything else was bonus.
That low, specific expectation really made all the difference. I decided not to “just survive” and I also decided not to try to be the greatest mom in the neighborhood. Screentime? Yup. Playdates and such? Sure. Flexibility around boredom? Hells yes. I’m not entertaining you all week. Entertain yourselves.
We didn’t get to the playroom until Wednesday. It took 3 hours and 6 trash bags to get it clean. I sat their little butts down and gave them a 20 minute lecture about how the playroom was their room and their responsibility. I told them that if it every got so dirty again, I’d throw out 95% of their toys, put the remaining 5% in their room, and transform the playroom into my personal study/craft room. They were shocked. Shocked.
So shocked, they played in that room and kept it clean for the rest of the week!
Honestly, though, I think that the reason why this week worked is because my boys are old enough now when they really can entertain themselves for chunks of time without my constant intervention. My Quiet Thoughts are about how impossible I thought this week would be. When the boys were in preschool and this week was miserable, moms with older kids would tell me that it eventually gets better. I couldn’t believe them. “Eventually” was just too far away. In parenting, time is everything. Not timing. Time. Children grow with time. Time dictates what is possible. Enough time passes and more possibilities open. Here I am with an 8 year-old and an almost 7-year-old and I can have a pleasant week of no school.
As always, the universe is in balance. Because my house was peaceful, the world seemed to be in absolute chaos. I have so much I want to write about Jussie, but I’m going to breathe and think and see where the stream of collective consciousness goes over the weekend. The news this week was infuriating, frightening, exhausting… I’m grateful I was really too busy to consume it all. I’m not looking forward to rejoining the fracas next week. Maybe I won’t. Lord knows there is plenty of reading and writing and knitting to do.
It’s a night for tea and knitting. The Husband is reading James and the Giant Peach to the boys as I type this (complete with voices for each character and everything). After kisses and turning off the light and closing the door, we two parents are going to settle into some much-deserved quiet. It’s a cold February night. Break is almost over. Time to sip and be. I can’t wait.
It’s Friday, and Fridays are for wishes. I am so mushy-brained that I don’t have much. I’m going to keep it simple. The world is awash in chaos, so I wish you time completely detached from it. Escape, escape, Dear Reader! To the library. The museum. The coffee shop. The yarn store. Church. The ocean, in all its frozen glory! Anywhere, anywhere! Anywhere away from the news and the nonsense and the crazy. Indulge in the joy of children’s laughter if that’s what you need. Splurg on a good coffee and jazzy music in a cafe (tip your barista, please! They are good folk!). Step into an independent bookstore and let your fingers stroll from spine to spine. Dip into a lecture or a concert. Whatever you do, leave your phone in the car. Let your internets alone. Skip the 6 o’clock news. It’ll all be there when you’re done. Just step away for a little bit. You’ll feel so much better after you do.
There is someone out there who is thinking about you and appreciating you, Dear Reader. There is someone in the world who is sending you loving vibes, or someone who is thinking of you with deep admiration. There is someone out there telling a story about you, laughing about a funny thing you did or telling a story of your badass-ness with a bit of awe in their tone. If you know nothing else from day to day, Dear Reader, know this: your presence in the world matters more than you could possibly know. You were thoughtfully made. Your life and times, your deeds and journey… they matter a lot. You are not without friends, you are not alone. I know that I tell you to shine so that others may see your light and feel hopeful for it. This week, I remind you to look up and out into the darkness and see just how many other lights sparkle all around you. Shine your light knowing you never shine alone, even when you feel alone. Shine your light knowing that so many sparkles in the darkness compliment each other. We are all, each of us, part of a beautiful pattern. The darkness is merely background. We, and what we do, are the show.
So show off, Dear Reader. We’ll be watching.
I’m so grateful for your patience with me this week, Dear Reader. Thank you so much. I’m be back on Monday for a full week of posts.
Until Monday, take care.