I don't like messes. In fact, my kids know this so well that they often phrase their requests as, "Mom, can I fill-in-the-blank if I promise to clean it up afterwards?'. Smarties. Just before dinner a few nights ago, I realized I had been in an especially cranky mood for the better part of the afternoon and, in an effort to restart, said, "I'm feeling kind of cranky today, kids. Can you tell?" All three of them fixed their eyes on me and stared in an uncomfortable silence. Finally, McKenzie worked up enough courage to give a slight... oh so slight... nod. "I'm sorry," I continued. "I'll try to do better from now until bed, okay?" Carson smiled shyly and let out a breath of relief and McKenzie jumped up and wrapped her little arms around my neck in her most sincere form of forgiveness. She quietly started putting her backpack, shoes, coat, homework papers, miscellaneous rocks that had come home from school, and books back in their proper places. Carson caught her drift and started picking up his own totebag, coat and shoes. Once they were finished I took a deep breath and felt much, much better. I then realized that McKenzie had diagnosed my problem before I had analyzed it myself... the house had looked like it had vomited after-school debris all over, and that is quite enough to put me in a cranky mood.
I try to be the fun mom every once in a while. Sometimes I'll think it might be fun to pull out the Play Doh... and then I remember that we don't have any Play Doh because the last time we got it out it ended up all over everything and I cleaned it all up right into the garbage can. The paints are all dried out, and the tape and glue are all gone... the handle is snapped off of my good scissors because it was used to cut a thick cardboard box into a doll-bed, and our markers are all lid-less. So I guess I'm not the fun mom after all...
We do make messes sometimes... I like to have my kids help cook in the kitchen as long as we have a clean slate to begin with. And we actually had a marshmallow fight the other night. Sometimes I'll unfold all of the blankets to make a fort. And sometimes I let them eat popcorn in front of the TV.
But usually, I don't.
Usually, I like things to be clean.
And in order.