It seems as though every time I stroll through the local Tj Maxx or Home Goods I catch a glimpse of that sign in the home decor section. I’ve never thought much about it. I see it so frequently in other places too. From letterboards to Instagram posts. What does that even mean “bless this mess” I’ve never been a fan to be honest. I just couldn’t relate.
In my home I’ve found the greatest pleasure in cleanliness. In organization. It’s one thing I can control and feel proud of.
The first time Danny was sick I watched him while he slept and I thought about how clean my home was. This time it didn’t bring me pride. All I could think of was how much I missed the “mess” I missed the blueberries he would teasingly throw from his high chair and the strawberries he painted the kitchen walls with. I thought about the horrible habit I have of cleaning up after him AS he plays. Literally following him around and placing his toys back in the carefully chosen spot on the shelf. I need to work on that I thought to myself as I watched him sleep. I needed to stop worrying so much about what brought me peace of mind and concern myself with what brought him joy. He would only be this little for so long. What would he remember of this time?
Well I’m ashamed to admit that this is not something I’ve worked on very much. Since then he’s only become more curious and playful. Knocking things over and laughing, throwing balls across the room and tearing down every piece of fall decor I had excitedly put up. And I’ve continued my horrible habit. I’m pretty good about playing with him and trying to be present but I still struggle with seeing the house a mess. I still have that impulse to clean after him immediately. I still get that heart pounding anxiety when I think what if someone were to drop by unannounced and see this mess?! Would they judge me? Call me a bad mother?
well, Danny is sick again. Three days ago he got the stomach flu. In those three days he has vomited countless times on countless surfaces, I’ve changed dozens of diapers, and we’ve all had a record low amount of sleep. At nights he cries and writhes in pain. During the day he rests his head on me too tired to even walk. When the cat walks by he chuckles softly instead of bursting into laughs and screams as he chases her through the kitchen, convinced that she’s in on the game. I play videos for him and he watches quietly as my pumpkins and fall garland sit untouched on the television stand.
Today he prompted me to put him down, took a few steps to his playroom and tapped on his sensory table (what he usually does when he wants me to open the bins for him.) I did just that and he reached for a bin full of rice and emptied it on the floor. I cried and he reached up to me ready to be carried again. He had exhausted his energy on making that one small mess. On one thing that made him really happy. I cried some more.
I keep praying that he will be better soon, hopeful because I know that his small mess was a step in the right direction. He’s sleeping again now and as I watch him I plead for his health and I pray for myself too. I need to do better. I pray that tomorrow I will walk into a room filled with balls and rice and pumpkins. That I’ll look at it not with anxiety but with gratitude. That seeing his mess will fill me with a different kind of peace. Not the one that comes from a clean home but the one that comes from knowing I have a happy healthy boy, capable of beautiful destruction. I’ll stand there and marvel at him and think to myself here lives joy. Bless this mess. But most importantly, bless this mess maker.