Their sleeping bags littered the floor, along with a pile of pillows and blankets, remnants of their “sleepover” the night before. Hand-lettered signs adorned the walls and furniture in the playroom, announcing stations for playing games and making crafts. My order-loving nature balks at the scene, wanting to call them in immediately to put things to rights and restore the room to its normally tidy state.
Then, as I step across the mess, I am reminded that before I know it, this room will be neat all the time. There will be no blond-headed whirlwind to scatter scraps of paper as she cuts out dresses for her paper dolls. My literature-loving eleven-year-old won’t have stacks of paper and notebooks on the shelves, waiting for her next attempt at a poem or a story about characters from long ago.
All too soon, the room will be clean and organized – and stay that way. It will be quiet, perhaps even peaceful. But the constant chatter accompanied by whispers of hope and the airy clouds of dreams built in spurts of imaginary play will be gone, too. And I know I shall miss the messes, and the energy, and the girlish touches that fill this space.
So let me stumble over the disheveled heap, listening to their voices and laughter in the room next door, and embrace what our home looks like in this stage of life. We can always clean it up tomorrow.