My house is in transition, and it’s been for about a year now as we renovate and update the kids’ rooms. We bought the house two years ago and immediately my husband wanted to redo, well, everything. He’s a hands-on fixer upper and a perfectionist so while the end result is outstanding and worth waiting for (he works on the house in between his demanding job), it can frustrating while the work is in progress. My son’s toys are literally everywhere until his room gets done. So there is a bin in the living room, a three-drawer plastic container in our bedroom, and countless other games, cards, and figures everywhere in between. On my way to an important meeting, I was fumbling around looking for a stray shoe when I stumbled over one of his Pokemon plushes. Then I started talking to myself. ‘This place is a mess. I need this house done. I can’t stand these toys everywhere.’ It was great rant alright.
So I chuckled to myself when I read Ellen Seidman’s piece on the Maddening Moments of Momhood.
She captured all those moments that drive us collectively crazy as parents.
Her first moment was playroom clean-up which is exactly what has been driving me out of my mind this past week. I honestly do feel as though I pick up toys constantly, so much so that it has become an action as basic as breathing, so while I’m walking through any given room, I’m collecting toy or pieces of toys, missing parts, lost socks, etc…. I barely realize I am doing it since it my kids’ belonging are jumbled throughout the house as we renovate.
She touched on other parts of motherhood that were so on target, I felt like she knew me, especially the part about when your child has an object of obsession. My daughter Katelyn had a Barbie doll she named Lucy. She was a brunette with very long hair that Katelyn would twirl with her skinny little finger when she was falling asleep or riding along in her stroller. Very quickly, Lucy became an addition to the family. And if Lucy got lost, ever, no one had any peace.
Unfortunately, Lucy got lost quite a few times. My adorable (and mischievous) nephew, who is ten years older than Katelyn got into the habit of hiding Lucy when he visited. After he left, we’d call him up and ask him if he saw Lucy. Instead of saying exactly where he left her, he’d give us clues, like Lucy could use a sweater right now (i.e. fridge), or Lucy felt like reading (bookshelf, of course!). Katelyn got frustrated at first but then enjoyed playing the game of calling Michael to locate her trusted friend, Lucy.
On the rare occasions that we lost Lucy for real, we were in trouble. One day we left her at Grandma’s house and had to go back to get her just so Katelyn would sleep that night. Luckily, she lived in the neighborhood. Lucy also became known in our neighborhood, too. Many of the cashiers and store managers would ask Katelyn how Lucy was doing on a regular basis.
My oldest daughter Amanda, somehow convinced her little sister to cut all of Lucy’s hair off, so for the last year or so of Lucy being Katelyn’s must-have pal, she was semi-bald. Then one day Katelyn tugged too hard on Lucy’s head and it came right off and wouldn’t stay on. Instead of getting upset Katelyn began to carry the loose head around with her.
Katelyn is now 13, Amanda in college, and Michael is a grown adult, and some of the most special times we have now is when we reflect on the antics of Lucy. I try to remember that now when I am stepping on my son’s stray toys.
The days when my floors will be covered in toys at all are just flying by as my youngest gets older, and when I stop to realize that, the chaotic household we live in seems not only comfy, but perfect.