I’m an extremely goal-oriented person. This would be a win, if I ever actually reached my goals. I do not. No, rather, I spend my days longing achingly to slash satisfying lines through items on my to-do list, but mostly, I muddle about in the mire of bum-wiping requests and bribing children with treats at the grocery store. It’s a fancy life, friends. A very fancy life.
While I spend endless days and energies working to make peace with the fact that this isn’t meant to be a season of ginormous crossing-out of lines, the truth is my soul is restless.
My husband and I spent this past Saturday in the way that spurs parents to permanent birth control measures–if we hadn’t previously secured sterilization against procreation of children we are in no way fit to handle. From 9am to 5pm solid, we gutted our kids’ closets of outgrown clothes, shoved our son and daughter into new-to-them hand-me-downs to check fit, and then threw the exhausting efforts of our labor into the washing machine.
As I write this, This Great Closet Overhaul was two days ago and I’ve only now summoned the courage to venture down to the basement and greet the mountains of laundry ominously awaiting me. At this rate, I solidly expect to get their new duds to be folded and hung by Christmas. It’s going well.
But in the midst of all this Saturday fun, I had a strange experience on trek #336 through the dining room on my path from the kids’ bedrooms to the garage where I was piling up bags of outgrown goodies to pass onto friends. A super strange experience.
You see, I looked up.
Yup, for one second, I pulled my self out of my stress-casing exhaustion and looked at my surroundings. Miraculous, I know.
What I saw was the dining room. The room that was sweet and airy, but had been sorely in need of a paint job for years upon years. A few weekends ago, my husband and I snagged a very rare day sans kids and we gloriously spent it finally wielding a paint brush on the long-neglected walls.
It was, to put it succinctly, bliss.
The end result was that the dining room looked insanely boss. Crisp, if you will. I used my stashed up Wayfair cash to treat us to a new fake-flower arrangement on the corner table, and basically, amazement happened.
What is this dining room? It is ONE room. One room in a house of many more rooms haphazardly painted and sans adorable faux arrangements. It’s loveliness can never negate the genuine terror of the junk drawer. But…
But…it’s DONE. There is a room of my house, of my home, that is finished. The way I want it to be. At least until I school the budget of Kim Kardashian and start mansioning-up and whatnot.
And I so I walked through the dining room. And I looked at it. And I thought. I thought in the way parents sometimes think when they can forget the weight of being parents and remember that they are people.
I thought, “This is one thing DONE”.
I thought, “The playroom is still hell, but this room is sweet.”
I thought, “We are a little bit closer…”
A little bit closer to our goal of an organized life. To our goal of a less chaotic home. To a life that doesn’t include 6 year-olds peeing in distinct circles around the toilet, but not actually in the toilet.
And I thought. And I grew into an older, wiser person with my thoughts.
I realized that such teensy forward movement will likely always be the case; that my adorably goal-oriented list may never actually be achieved. That the great work of our lives might just be the act of moving a little bit closer to our goals.
That the purpose of lists is perhaps not to actually finish them, but to use them to spur us onto forward progression. Because life isn’t really about an end point, it’s about growing and developing as we go, making room for what happens along the way. We tick a few things off the list to make room for a few more. We keep edging a little bit closer to where we’d like to be but will always, constantly remain works in progress.
For my husband and I, right now, this means painting one room and allowing ourselves to feel very fancy about it, while we staunchly ignore the exposed spackle smears and cracking tile in the bathroom. We’ll ignore those parts until we can make some room for them on the list–maybe after we finally get those 6 yr. old pee circles sorted??
I think life is not about finishing; it’s about getting a little bit closer to where we’d like to go. Happy forward movement, friends.
On the subject of making your life work with kids, here is a conversation that is near and dear to my heart: how friendships can thrive post-kids. Seriously, it can happen, and here’s how: https://vproud.tv/conversation/3551/mommy-s-friends-does-having-friends-without-kids-work-after-you-become-a-parent?utm_source=MS091915&utm_medium=Contributor&utm_campaign=MommyFriends