Monday, April 28, 2014

To Everything There Is a Season

As I surveyed the room before me, my heart sank. Would we ever have a living room like those featured on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens? "To everything there is a season," my mom would remind me when I complained about how messy our house was.
Daddy sent me this t-shirt from Saunders Brothers last fall. 
It was the last gift he picked out for me. My parents have been 
reminding me of this scripture from Ephesians most of my life.

Apparently, we were in our War Zone season. The orange and yellow velour couch was threadbare, the end tables were dotted with drips of milk from leaking sippy cups, and the entire square footage of carpet was covered with a variety of toys. Picking up was an endless task for me as a mother of two young children. It was time to bring out THE BAG.

"Okay, you two. You have FIVE minutes." My little ones looked up from their video on TV, Land Before Time, no doubt. It seemed to be on an eternal loop in those days. "I want this room picked up. NOW. When the timer goes off in five minutes, anything you haven't picked up goes into the bag, and I'm putting it up in my closet. GO!"

Dylan, the older of the two, went into panic mode, scurrying around the room, gathering his backpack, his building blocks, his toy cars. "Sisi, hurry! She means it. Mom will take your toys away. Help me!"

Sierra, the three-year-old, hadn't moved from her spot on the sofa. She was completely relaxed, dividing her time between watching the TV, and watching her brother tear around the room like a mad man. 

"Two more minutes..." I said from the kitchen, keeping an eye on the digital timer on the stove. Dylan was doing an impressive job, loading all of his toys, and some of his sister's into the basket we kept in the family room for holding their treasures.

"SI-ERRA!" my obedient, first-born admonished. "HURRY! Mom means it. She's going to take away your toys."

"Mom can pick them up," she told him. "I don't need them. I have plenty of toys."

It was true. My children were like most children in the nineties. They had so many toys, it must have been hard to decide what to select from the toy room when it was time to play. I was so exasperated by her laissez-faire attitude, though. How do you motivate an over-indulged child with laid-back thinking?

My kids were like night and day. Dylan tended to keep his things tidy and organized. He was a perfectionist, and a rule follower. Sierra liked everything spread out, and easily accessible when it came to her clothes and toys. Sierra had a relaxed approach to life, and wasn't too concerned about rules or threats.

Is there hope for mothers with children like my little girl? Oh, yes, there is, but sometimes we have to wait awhile before all of teachings sink in enough to make a difference.

When Bridger and I went to visit her after she had moved to Denver, everything she owned was in her small apartment bedroom. As she gave us a tour of the place she shared with two others, I saw her face fall when she looked into the kitchen. I followed her gaze into the room, and saw nothing upsetting. 

"Why do people have to leave dishes on the counter? We have a dishwasher!" She removed her roommate's offending water glass from the Formica, and quickly hid it inside the dishwasher. I was impressed, and more than surprised. Her bed was made, and the floor was clear. My little girl has become a tidy housekeeper, so yes, there is hope.

"To everything there is a season," indeed. I miss having those two kids at home. I'd even settle for the clutter, if it meant we could all be together. For now, I open my heart and home to them when they visit, and I love being a guest in their homes, impressed by their hospitality, and their housekeeping skills. As a mom, I couldn't be more proud of how my kids are turning out. All three of them are such good-hearted people, and they know how to work, and organize themselves.

Hang in there, you little mamas. Your day is coming. For now, just enjoy your sweet chidlren, and savor this time with them. It will be over before you know it.

*For visitors from the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge, you can see the befores and afters of some of my projects on the links in this paragraph. My 16-year-old and I just pared down our possessions to move into our LITTLE HOUSE. LETTING GO of some of our prized possessions was challenging, but worth it. So far, we're doing pretty well to keep it tidy. It feels like home, and that's always a good thing. 

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