Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This is My House

The house is quiet.

This is a phenomenon that occurs only when the four little noise & mess-makers that live inside these walls have traded in their cowboys hats and ballerina skirts for little halos sleeping like angels in their beds.

This is my house.

This is the place where a coaster can never be found for a wandering drink as they are being continually hidden under couches and flung like Frisbees.

This is the place where at the end of the day, little tea-pots and a procession of army-men are more likely to decorate my end tables and shelves than picture frames and candles (which are also always M.I.A.!).

This is the place where throw pillows are literally thrown and are rarely setting on their couches.

This is the place where you could put down money on the presence of a Cheerio or jelly-bean hiding under the dining room table and always win the bet.

This is the place that is rarely quiet and usually loud.

It’s where laughter and tears converge.

It’s where food is devoured and messes multiply.

It’s where memories linger and time fades away.

It’s where little people learn and big people too.

It’s where a family learns to grow and to love.

It’s where I live and there’s no other place in the world I’d rather be.

Although I day-dream of fluffy pillows on clean couches (without crooked cushions!!) and roll my eyes when I can’t find a coaster for my drink, I wouldn’t trade the messes and the mayhem if it meant living without the privilege and joy of raising four people we are blessed to call our children.

I suppose one day I will have picture frames on my shelves instead of tea-pots and marching army-men; beautiful carpets and crumb-less floors.  I may even reclaim all the M.I.A coasters and be able to finally offer our company a resting place for their drinks.

And when that day comes, I think I’ll throw a throw pillow on the floor...just for the heck of it.  I’ll  try my hardest as I sit in that quiet room to remember the noises of those little cowboys and dancing ballerinas who have grown and now have little mess-makers of their own!

And I may wish I could trade a clean and quiet house for the messy, loud one that sometimes drove me crazy.

This is my house...and I’m realizing, I really do love it; messes, noises and all.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bad Egg Turned GOOD!

What do you do with a bad egg?

Turning bad eggs into good memories was exactly what we did yesterday.  The night before, I had made a late night run to the grocery store (my nights on the town are super thrilling post-babies!).  I deliriously unloaded the bags onto the counter and tossed the perishables into the fridge before collapsing into bed only to discover the next morning I had overlooked a carton of eggs.  I was just about to throw them into the trash when I froze: what would a three and five-year-old kid do?  Maybe I was a weird kid (if my childhood BFFs are reading this, I hope they don’t agree too quickly!), but I remember thinking it would be fun to just throw an egg sometime.   You always have to be so careful with eggs, it would be exciting to be a little crazy with them for a change.

Of course, my boys whole-heartily agreed!

“MOM!”  Judah, my three-year-old was speechless (but yet still found something to say), “This is the BEST DAY EVER!!  Thank woo a lot!!  We can just throw them anywhere?!”

“Well, let me clarify: anywhere in the backyard is fine.  Don’t throw them at the car or house...or eachother, okay?” I’ve learned with kids to always state the obvious.

I watched them from the back door as they took off with their beloved eggs.  They laughed and shouted excitedly as the eggs shattered on tree trunks and bombed the frozen tundra around them with exploding white shells.  Of course, the good times only lasted a few moments, but the fun memory is STILL being talked about at the dinner table and tales of smashing eggs have been greatly egg-xaggerated (I had to do it!!) to their daddy!

I can’t believe how an activity that cost me absolutely nothing (I was going to throw them out anyways) could surpass many more costly events in my boy’s memory banks.  Fun is sometimes free and bad eggs really can be good!

I often underestimate the power of “nothing”.  When I think about doing something special with or for my children, more often than not, the activity or gift requires some "do-re-mi". Although there is definitely nothing wrong with treating our kids to a day at the theater, a long anticipated toy, or a overnight at a hotel (with a POOL!), I believe something sad happens when we start to believe that is the ONLY way our children can be blessed...and start to teach them this faulty belief as well.

Some of my best memories from my own childhood involved the most simple of things; a pad of paper and pencil while sitting at the kitchen table with my artistic mother who taught me how to draw, a Monopoly game set up on a card-table in the living room that daily awaited my sister and I when we raced home from the bus to continue the intense battle for "Boardwalk" and "Park Place", and my favorite book being read to me while snuggled under my dad’s arm.

I’m wondering if we send our children a subtle message when we constantly direct them towards fun outside the home that contentment must be sought outside ourselves rather than from within.  Could we also be saying money is the solution to every problem instead of treasuring the priceless gifts of life, such as family togetherness?

I know what I’m going to do the next time I want to make it a special day for my son or daughter, I’m going to open the game closet and grab “Go Spidey”  instead of opening the car door to run to Target and let them pick out yet another toy.  And instead of forking out the big bucks to take them to a show I’m going to grab a spoon and share some cookie dough with them while we wait for the oven to get warm to bake their favorite cookies.  And maybe once in awhile I will splurge...a whole $1.14 to buy my boys a dozen eggs and let them be a little crazy again in the backyard!

But whether I spend a little dinero or whether we stay at home, snuggled under a blanket with a flashlight reading scary stories (like “The Bernstein Bears and the Spooky Old Tree”!), I hope my children will discover along with me that true contentment and joy can’t be bought, it’s found within...and sometimes found in bad eggs turned good.