Sometimes I get frustrated with how quickly my house gets messy living with three boys. (Well…two boys and one man). What is it about making a mess that is so fun? I’m sure I made messes as a child. In fact, I know I did. But I don’t remember why.
We played puzzles today. The boys each worked on a few different puzzles and had fun. Then somehow it turned in to a game where they were carrying puzzle pieces into the bathroom and depositing them on the floor in front of the toilet until we had a huge pile of puzzle pieces all mixed up and no one could even use the pot as intended. The boys helped me clean it all up, of course, as they do most every evening.
But it always seems that there is leftover cleaning to do after the boys are in bed. A random shoe in the couch cushions. A toy car on its side right in front of the front door. A book laying open on the stairs. A big pile of laundry I never finished folding because I was too busy pitching baseballs and dancing to the music and living life while it happened. Dust! Piles on the counter of things I never quite put away.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about these little messes as offerings instead of nuisances. The pile of rocks moved from the rock pathway in the backyard, and is now sitting in the middle of our deck? An offering. An offering of childhood. It is easy to get annoyed at something else that needs to be cleaned up or taken care of. But if I stop to wonder, it actually brings a smile to my heart. What were they thinking? What were those boys thinking about those rocks that made them important enough to be moved? Those rocks mean life is happening.
Some day there will be no more toy cars. No more rock piles or shoes in the couch. Maybe it will be cleaner. But it will be empty.
So I look around and snap these memories in my mind. Snap pictures of these offerings my children are leaving of childhood. Too soon that will be all that’s left.