The Passing of the Lovely Terrible Messy Things
Sometimes it seems like everyone I know has something cheerful and exciting going on in their lives. This person is posting pictures of their fabulous vacation, that person just got a fab new propmotion, and another person I don’t even know but am somehow ”friends” with got a book deal. Life is showering good things down on everyone and the deluge seems to be soaking everyone except for me.
The unremitting good spirits of my social network really wear me down. This abysmal weather we’re having doesn’t help. Why does it have to rain all the time in England? And why does it feel like I live in the rainiest part of this water logged nation? Is a heat wave too much to ask for? It is August, after all.
I tell myself that I can’t be the only one to feel this way. There have to be others who look at themselves in the mirror and struggle to figure out how life ended up like it did. Am I the only one to wonder when all these wrinkles started to appear…and is that a jowl starting to form along my jaw line? Holy God, it is! Where did that come from? And while we’re at it, where happened to my size 6 hips? I was quite happy with them. I would like them returned as soon as possible, please, preferably today – along with a lower back that can heft a child around all day and not scream in protest every time I stand up. I used to have one of those and it was damned useful.
Then there is my house. Don’t get me started on it. It’s a mess. Oprah says your house should rise up and greet you, and Victorians said home should be a haven from a heartless world. Mine feels like it wants to reach out and trip me and should have a sign on the door that reads “Danger – here be dragons!”. Jonah is in to collecting rocks and leaving them all over the floor along with the sand from his sand table which somehow manages to end up in in shoes, Nyree thinks the living room is her boudoir and leaves her clothes everywhere, William sticks his dirty hobbit feet on the table while he’s reading and the dogs are shedding.
And why can’t anyone understand that if the bathroom door is closed it is not an invitation to come and bang on it incessantly. No, I do not know where anyone’s shoes/jacket/tablet/nintendo/book/underwear/socks/blankie/car keys are! God gave you all eyes with which to see and feet with which to walk, and hands with which to shape the world so you can bloody well make your own breakfast, find your own clean socks, brush your own hair, and no, I am not making three separate dinners – you don’t like pasta? Then starve.
I know that life will not always be this chaotic. I know that one day I will sleep for more than 4 hours at a stretch and will look at finger prints on someone else’s walls with fond memories of the jammy imprint currently on mine. I will not remember the sound of a toddler’s whine on a continual loop begging for more chocolate buttons at tea time, and I will crave just one more opportunity to brush my daughter’s long, golden hair. I will have ample time to read and write, to experiment with obscure foods in the kitchen, and to sit quietly in a pub and savour a pint while reading a newspaper from cover to cover.
I know that if I am not careful, I will be so intent on getting where I think I need to be that I will miss all of the wonderful bits about where I am right now. Like how joyful Jago’s face is in the morning and how he lights up when he sees his daddy, how delighted Jonah is when he is running through the grass or throwing bread to the swans, the wonderful conversations I have with my older kids about books and movies, and how lucky I am to have these beautiful, precious, lovely, terrible people in my life.
One day, this, too, shall pass. All the lovely terrible messy things. And I shall miss it something fierce.
So let the rain fall – and given that I live in a very wet part of a very wet land, fall it will – and let the children mess up my house. There will be time enough for peace and tranquility in years to come. And in those years, when my hair is gray, and my jowls pronounced, I will see myself in a picture taken this summer and think, damn, I looked pretty good. Life was pretty good.
And I loved every minute of it.
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