“Honey,” my dearest husband, my beloved partner-for-life, gently queried, “do you think you might be able to clean up some of the parts of the rooms that don’t make it to the blog?”
Well then! It was a good thing I already had some coffee; that shot of caffeine in the morning is what allows my sense of humor to wake up, which allowed me to blush and smile rather self-consciously. He—and I am desperately hoping this is the last time I am forced to write this for a long while—was right.
My house is a mess.
We have four kids, a dog, too many toys, more laundry than any mere mortal could fathom, and a few dust bunnies big enough that they are close to being named as dear, dear pets ought to be. I am not a great housekeeper… heck, I’m not even a good one. The truth is, I probably shouldn’t blog as often as I do since there are floors to clean, and windows to wash, and socks upon socks upon socks to collect, wash, and distribute appropriately.
It’s so hard to convince myself to go grab the mop to make my floors shiny when I have another project that I want to memorialize on these pages. As I’ve written before I find blogging a worthwhile investment toward recording both the daily and the special events that go on around here that are so easily forgotten. I have so many projects ongoing, and even more ideas percolating, but there aren’t enough hours in the day to get to half of them, even if I didn’t bother to waste time on things like sleep. It’s not hard to see how I might choose to grab a few winks over grabbing a mop; well, it’s not hard for me to defend how I’d rather blog than mop, correctly or an incorrectly as the choice might be judged.
What I choose to blog about is such a small portion of what happens during our days. I wrote about our newly formed afternoon tea ritual, but I didn’t mention in that post how it seems that my kids don’t actually like drinking tea at all. Every day since we started, someone has dumped his or her cup into the sink to get some water instead. I wrote about our time in the library and how soothing it was, but the very next day none of the kids could be convinced to go upstairs to grab a book and there was no relaxing down time for any of us and we all ended up in foul moods.
This blog, both the words and the images, are carefully edited, maybe too carefully, and sometimes I wonder whether I am recording all the right moments. Yes, it’s nice to have a picture of a lovingly knit baby vest, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy seeing the kids proudly wearing things that they made for each other. And if I ever finish that doggone hutch, I’m sure I’ll look back at those first few photos right as I got started with the amnesia of a new mother that forgets all the pains of labor as soon as her babe is placed in her arms. But what about those moments in between when I realize that it’s six o’clock and I have no plans for supper so everyone gets cereal? Or what about how long the piles and piles of laundry were waiting on the bed to be folded and put away while I finished up knitting just a few more rows? Will it matter that I waited too long before I scrubbed my floors or that the dishes may have been left in the sink overnight a few times?
Maybe it’s not the failed attempts (or lack thereof) at housekeeping that I need to remember. Maybe these moments I’m recording are exactly what I need to capture at the time when it’s all still fresh and sweet. Maybe what I’m actually afraid of is that these words and images are preserving too simple a picture of how rich and complicated our lives are and how many somehow unsatisfying compromises we make each day. How often have I thought of moments in my childhood, or when I was in college, or as a young twenty-something couple in San Francisco and thought to myself “ah… those were the days… life was so good” and then felt badly that I must somehow be doing things wrong right now. I don’t want to look back at this blog in a few years, or even have you looking now, to think about how nicely I kept the house, and how many projects I managed to finish when the kids were so little, how neat and simple it all seemed to be. It’s not always easy, it’s not always hard. It’s a full life. There is never enough time. I often make the wrong choices with my resources (no, it is NOT a good idea to stay up until 2 am working on a project when the kids wake up so early). My temper flares, we all get whiny. Sometimes I don’t do laundry until we’re all out of clean underwear. I don’t always, or ever, have a spotless kitchen. And there are plenty of times I wish the door on my bathroom had magical powers to let me disappear entirely for twenty minutes to a place where it’s all sunshine, rainbows, unicorns, and fancy tropical fruit drinks with tiny umbrellas stuck on top.
So I posted these pictures above to show you what sort of crazy things I will do when I’m in a hurry to get some photos. Lately I’ve been dreaming of doing some painting in my kitchen, and in order to convince my husband, I need to do a little photoshop magic to show him what it might look like when I’m done. There I was, drinking tea with my kids, looking over at the kitchen when I realized that I had just moments to grab a few frames before all the light faded. So I did what any reasonable human would do, and madly started throwing dishes and clutter into any available space that would be hidden when I clicked the shutter. These are the shots I grabbed.
These three shots will eventually help me build and tell a story to my husband, but the real story, the one I should think about when I need to restore my sense of humor, is in those messy photos above.
And yes Mom, I cleaned everything off of the floor and out of the oven and microwave before I went to bed… but I didn’t take any pictures of that.