We started a new sermon series at church on Sunday around animated children’s shows, with this first week focused on “The Lego Movie.” The point of the sermon was that the control freak Lord Lego guy was missing out on all these wonderful things his people were doing with his creations because he was too concerned about keeping everything perfect, just the way he made it and wanted it. To the point that he decided to try to glue everything and everyone in place.
It sounded a little too familiar. (If only that’s why every surface in our house is sticky.)
So, I walked out on church, like I do most weeks, vowing to do better and be better and let go and enjoy our kids and our life.
Then we got home.
And, eventually, I walked upstairs, where four of our children are—due to an unplanned, “So, how much plasma can we sell?” extensive remodel of our basement–currently bunked in two bedrooms.
I’d traveled earlier in the week, arrived home late on Thursday, worked Friday and jumped into a whirlwind of activities. Our oldest daughter helps dress our 2-year-old and Brad typically handles bedtime while I’m with the baby, so I’d managed to avoid what I knew was an absolute disaster area.
I immediately wished I’d waited until they were all graduated and I could just hose it down and start over.
Dishes and wrappers and dirty clothes and broken crayons and dried-out markers and ripped up paper and superhero body parts and (irony) Legos. The echo of these kids telling me “I can’t find my jeans!” rung in my ears as I pulled the wrong sizes from the wrong drawers. And then—then, for the love of all that is holy—there was the fossilized banana shoved between the mattress and the wall….
Keep in mind, I run a pretty tight ship, so all of that happened in the few days I wasn’t monitoring closely. That’s what I’m up against.
In the midst of swearing that “this time” everything that wasn’t in its proper place was headed for the giant dumpster parked in my driveway (for the remnants of the asbestos remediation work taking place that’s left my entire house smelling like the inside of a bottle of nail polish remover), I found the one green Croc that’s silently (duh) mocked me since summer.
I never understood how people lose one shoe until I had children. I’d see one shoe on the side of the road and think, “What the…?” Now, I’m like, “Oh, is it ours?” Its match, like too many other shoes around here, was, depending on which child you ask, left in the neighbor’s back yard, lost in the garage or (my personal favorite) never really existed.
I walked down the stairs and into the living room with a laundry basket full of crap, and began my “Why?!” rant to Brad, who was sitting in a chair with a baby and a bottle and a remote, smiling. Because he’s heard it all before and there’s nothing left to say, no solution except to let me vent and sympathize and agree that they’re all awful, tiny people.
Then J hobbled around the corner with the old iPhone and that one green Croc, shoved on the wrong foot.
And I laughed. Because it summed up absolutely everything that makes me crazy about my children and crazy about my children.
There’s a line from an episode of “Sex in the City” (yes, I managed to tie church, “The Lego Movie,” and “Sex in the City” together in a 700-word blog post—that may be the best example of how quickly my mind spins most days), the one where Carrie grabs a crying, just-married-but-upset-she-spilled-wine-on-her-dress Charlotte and says of her wedding, “You’re missing it!”
I think about that line all of the time: “You’re missing it.”
Now, it’d be mass chaos around this place if I just “Let it go” (extra points for the “Frozen” reference); heck, we’re spending a significant amount of money trying to de-mold 1/3 of our house, so I refuse to let the hooligans spread it everywhere else.
But trying to control everything and glue them down in the pursuit of perfection? I’m pretty sure that’s not why I’m here. And I’m absolutely sure that’s not why my kids and my husband want me here.
I yelled up the steps and asked the boys to pick up their Legos, in whatever fashion they wanted as long as they were off of the floor. I put the dishes in the dishwasher and the clothes in the hamper and tossed the fossilized banana.
And I kept the green Croc.
Maybe the match will show up. I’ve got $20 that says it won’t. Either way, it’s OK. Because that’s life in this house—far from perfect, a little off-balance, occasionally ugly. And I’ve got five kids that wouldn’t want it any other way.