Friday, May 13, 2011

Disaster Area

As Josh likes to say, "Never underestimate the destructive powers of a two-year-old." I can only bring myself to orchestrate clean up in the little boys' room every so often. Ellis, who is a more capable helper, complains the whole time because he accurately claims that most of the mess is from Charlie. Charlie helps by following behind me and taking out the toys that I've neatly placed back in their storage bins as if to say, "Thanks, Mom. I was wondering where that was." Before I know it, the wood blocks are back in the paper grocery bag because he prefers them there and he has created a little nest of toys and books that is comforting to him and deadly to bare feet in the middle of the night.

My sister, who shared a room with me for ten years while we were growing up, is right now thinking that this serves me right. I used to make messes of the size and scope that Charlie does now, and I am still a terrible housekeeper. Cleaning up only gets priority when I need to reset my space when the mess begins to disturb my emotional peace. In my adult life, it has been easiest during the few times that I lived alone to have a neat space because I've tended not to have very much stuff. With five people living in a relatively small house and only two of us working against the entropy in any significant way, we're always in some state of disarray.

I have a hard time with stuff. It falls apart if you don't take care of it, and much of the time I'd rather not. Of course things can be useful and I find a great many of the things I own to be necessary for the ways I want to live my life, but I'm happier and less overwhelmed when I have pared down the number of things I own. I'm hoping to find more time to clear out the extra stuff that we've accumulated and organize what we have as a way to be able to have a peaceful space without having to spend so much time focused on the maintenance of stuff. That's the outer work. The inner work is to develop more tranquility with the fact that things fall apart because my children are not going to become tidy any time soon.
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