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Families are Messy

by | Jun 19, 2018 | 2018

You probably think I am going to talk about messy family relationships, divorce or estranged children- or those terrifying family reunions. Nope.

Let me give you some background. I like to be organized. I like the things around me to be organized. If the countertop is piled up with newspapers, yesterday’s mail, half empty glasses and hair clips, I can’t think. Before I begin a baking project, I have to clear the counter. I think that the counter reflects the state of my brain- if it is cluttered, my brain is cluttered. If the counter is clear, my brain is clear. For those of you who have visited my office at The River Center, the same is true of my desk. If you see my desk is piled high, you know my brain is a mess. If I have a clear desk, chances are better that I have a clear brain and therefore I will be able to focus on you!

So, back to my premise that families are messy. My oldest daughter and her family live in Rwanda and have come to stay with us for a few months to have their third baby. The baby is four weeks old and the older siblings are 2 and 4 ½ years old. Perhaps you can see where I am going here.

This morning I said good bye to the kids as I headed out the door. The two year old was wearing only a diaper and thoroughly enjoying his yogurt and granola breakfast. By that I mean he was pretty much covered in yogurt and granola. I chose a clean spot on the top of his head and gave him a kiss good bye. I held the baby gingerly, hoping she wouldn’t choose that moment to spit up all over my work outfit- which has been known to happen to the unsuspecting. The four year old had already spread out her projects all over the table and barely acknowledged my farewell. My son-in-law loves to cook, which is a definite asset. He was busy making a breakfast feast at the stove. My daughter was trying to make sure everyone had what they needed. I shut the door and went on my merry way.

I am used to coming home at night to my home which pretty much looks like it did when I left it in the morning. Not now. I come home to locked screened doors (because we don’t want the two year old to escape without our knowing it). There’s a toy drill and ball on the deck. The table is covered with art projects, markers, glitter glue, scissors, and hair ribbons. Library books are everywhere. Mr. Potato Head is peaking from under the sofa pillow. The dump truck is by the front door, a random sock is on the stairs. There are sippy cups in a number of places. Evidence of a Cheerio snack is on the kitchen floor. And, by the way, the counter top is well hidden under the day’s detritus.

My orderly brain is challenged. But you know what? I wouldn’t change this time for anything. At all. Period. I know that in a few short weeks I will be kissing them all good bye. The art projects and Cheerios will be 8000 miles away. There won’t be any Legos to pick up or lost blankies to find. My bathtub won’t be full of rubber duckies. I won’t hear the talking front loader. Or see the tiny sneakers by the back door.

Yes, families are messy. School is out. Kids are home, making messes, visiting with grandparents, having friends over to add more chaos. Your college students are also home- bringing with them their own version of chaos. Know this. Kids are messy. Embrace the mess. Embrace the kids. Enjoy every messy minute with them. There will be plenty of time to live an orderly life.

The River Center is a family and community resource center. We are here to support families in a variety of ways including classes, groups, home visiting, and connections to community resources. Give us a call at 924-6800 or check out
Enjoy your summer. Enjoy your families. Love the ones you are with.

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