I wrote this piece last year at this same time of year when the holidays were done but still lingered in tiny piles. A precursor to this year’s snowy messes, last winter settled in for a long frigid stretch filled with days of snow that made us living snowpeople. We trailed in piles of snow dust and mountains of clothes. Each trip a different mess another fun story.
Pick up. Put away. Wash. Dry. Clean out. Fold. Organize. These are the everyday tasks that fill my day as I attempt to keep my small family of three in an organized livable space.
I inhabit whatever distinct work area is available to write when my daughter succumbs to her daily
mid-day nap. I look around the house and objects scream at me.
Sunset shade spider mums drink seven-day-old water. Poinsettias feel out of place without their Christmas tree friend anywhere near and hope to blend as Valentine’s Day mementos. A thick Santa Clause hat lies by the door as it waits for snow. Dress coats pile up on the hallway bench exhausted from last night’s spontaneous dinner show. Lunch dishes sit in silence in their steam bath.
At first I am exhausted at the tasks these items represent. More dishes to wash, more trash to take out, more laundry to do. I am burdened. Even in my sleep the demands of family life literally tug at me as I am awakened at 11pm, 1am, 3am, 6am, and 7:30am to breast-feed.
Then something else nudges me- memories. The sweetness of a just because bouquet fills me with the glow of twelve years of love, of making it work, of creating a family and home of our own. Small, twin Poinsettias, gifts from my daughter’s great grandparents, decorate our dining room table and listen in on our conversations. Our dishes, a wedding gift from my mother in law, painted with cobalt blue, orange, and red lines are the canvas of our lazy breakfast mornings, quick lunches, and our inspired dinner concoctions. We are given a 75% off coupon for a great show, a midweek surprise, after a tiresome day.
Our dress coats shield us from the frigid January day. Hours later, they are
left huddled on the hallway bench as we run to bed and sleep through the first snowfall of the year blissful to ignore all bedtime routines. My daughter’s thick Santa hat, a Christmas present from her aunt, hopes to be thought of when the thrill of outside calls to play. Elliesofia ignores the promise of a warm head; too stubborn to believe she can feel cold.
These are my mess piles, the leftovers of life. In plain sight and added up they are terrible to look at and overwhelm the clean up crew but given a closer look they tell our every day story- partners in the nurture of us.