I had a dream once. Not the sleeping kind, the "imagine what you really want" kind. It was about my house. Mostly, that it was always clean. Now, if you know me at all, you know I really do try to keep my house clean. Not just picked up, but actually wiped down, dusted, corners swept, clean. The operative word here is "try".
I am enamored of the cleaning style where you pretend your house is for sale (that will never be the case for me in this house, since we rent) and so you always keep it clean, surfaces clear of clutter, in case you have someone come by for a showing. I have read enough articles about selling your house to know that limiting your personal items and keeping flat areas bare helps to promote a feeling of calm and peace that buyers are drawn to.
And to that end, I kept taking everything off my refrigerator. I thought I was supposed to enjoy looking at it's blank white door, that keeping it clutter-free would make me feel more orderly. I kept a few photos on it, but nothing to amount to much, and the bottom half for a long time had nothing on it besides the magnetic map puzzle of the U.S. (on of my sad attempts to try to help my kids to have a better grasp on geography than I do!).
But things kept creeping on there. I would receive a "precious" art piece from on of my kids and I would think, "I'll just stick this on the fridge until I can throw it away without them knowing." Or, they would slap a magnet on a freshly crayoned picture, for when "Daddy gets home". They were always bringing stuff home with magnets already applied-photo frames, charts, Scripture verses. And I would just keep telling myself that I needed to take it off, because that was how it was supposed to be, right?
And then I realized something. My kids are 5 and 7. I don't know if we will have any more-that is definitely a subject for a different post. But they just keep getting older, and every single prophecy that "the time will just fly" is coming true at an alarming rate. I really do treasure my kids. I take time to really *be* with them.
And so I don't really care if my refrigerator door isn't pristine and uncovered. It won't be long before there aren't any more crayon drawings and things pressed between contact paper. I will be the only one choosing the colorful magnets and I can curate the art to my heart's content. But for now, I am really enjoying all the little things that remind me that I have two healthy, sweet, *creative* children to fill up my refrigerator door. I know that if the Lord allows it, I will see my kids grow up to be wonderful adults, but right now I am treasuring this part.
I don't parent perfectly. However, every now and then, I have a moment of clarity, when I realize that while I don't suppose I will ever remember stepping on Legos fondly, that I have the opportunity to create so many more good memories than bad ones. And when I think back on all the times with my kids, I want it to be about them, full of who they are, so that neither my memory nor my fridge door are bare and boring.
“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before You.
But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in You." Psalm 39:5-6a, 7 (NIV)