By Js Kendrick
I like children. I mean who doesn’t? (Don’t answer that, I know a few of them too.) And at my house children have been a perenial thing for the last 25 years. I have two little ones myself, my daughter (9) and my son (6). They, unlike their grown sibilings, still reside here. Despite our best efforts to convince them to move into the playhouse out in the backyard.
Now having two little children raises a couple of issues. One, they attract other little children by their very presence (or it could be the playhouse in the backyard) and two, they make the house messy. It’s not their fault actually, the objects in the house are way too big for them. Lifting a gallon of milk? Well that’s like an adult lifting a two gallon jug. Try pouring that to make your own chocolate milk. Because, of course, you have to make your own, asking for help is a sign of weakness. But seriously, houses are a hazard to children, so messes occur.
Yet one day, one of those children that my children seem to attract, came over to my house, looked around and made a bold statement.
“I’m sorry, but your house is a mess!” She said to me, hands on her hips for emphasis. I looked at her, downward from my angle, and wondered how far I could punt her. Probably not far, she’s 8, kind of big for her age. Plus it is still illegal to punt children.
[I do not, nor have ever, condoned or endorsed the Punting of Children]
So instead of chiding her for being rude, or blowing her off, or punting her, I looked around my house. She was right, my house was a mess. So I told her exactly that. Satisfied that she had pointed out the obvious, she saundered off to play with my daughter.
It was kind of pointless to tell her that my wife and I work opposite shifts. That we just had two family reunions back to back and had barely been home in that time, or that time to clean is a luxury sometimes…okay most of the time. It didn’t matter to her, she was 8, my house was a mess, and she did her civic duty. I think she is a Stepford Child.
Going back to my family reunion, just a small gathering with two of my three sibiblings, my brother pointed out why the little girl was right. Even before the she even said it. I think my brother is psychic.
“So you’re what 53 right? your youngest is 6 right?” He asked.
“Yes.” wondering where this was going.
“Do you have dishes in your sink?” he asked. I thought, we did clean up before leaving, but…
“A few, not many.” I said.
“But you do, and you have that everyday don’t you? See that’s what’s trippy about you. You love kids, you had kids when you were…how old were you youngest daughter was born?” He asked.
“Um, 44 when she was born, 47 when my son was. I was 28 when my eldest was born…what are you getting at?” I asked.
“You have a messy house, you are always going to have a messy house. My youngest is 26, she’s grown and out of the house, so I don’t have that anymore.” He said. A shrug to go along with his commentary.
I was able to open my mouth, to begin my defense, but he interupted me.
“I’m not downing you brother, I love you. You love your kids, I can see that. You got with a younger woman who wanted kids, and hey, it’s your life. But kids are messy. You’ll never experience a clean house.” He said with a little laugh. Then he asked if I still had plastic glasses in my cupboard. I do. I hung my head in shame at my plastic glasses.
So am I doomed to drink milk from a plastic ‘glass’ for the remainder of my life? Will I ever go to work leaving a spotless house only to come home to the same spotless house? Will food items stop magically appear in my couch? Is it possible that I will touch a door knob one day and it will not be sticky?
Probably not. I do have grandchildren.
Yet for all of its messiness, its clutter of toys and papers. For all the naked Barbies and Hotwheel cars I find in the hallway. It’s my home. It’s where I live and I do live here. I don’t “reside” at this abode. We laugh here, love here, cry sometimes too. This is a noisy, busy, sometimes part insane aslyum overflow, place. A fun place. It is also a messy place sometimes.
For the record, we cleaned house today.
And with 2 cats and a lazy Labador this house will never be ‘clean’. 🙂