Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Handprint

"Have you seen The Handprint ?"  John asked me with a weird look on his face and a tone in his voice that resembled a small child about to wake a dragon.  I didn't know what he was talking about, so he explained that there is a black handprint of Burl's on our white slipcover.  My reaction was unparalleled.  

I calmly told him that I didn't care and that I would just wash and bleach it when I could and it would be fine.  Then, I went on to tell him my new philosophy: eventually my kids won't be around to make messes.  One day, it's just going to be John and me here making the messes.  One day, the kids are going to grow up and become teenagers who drive cars and go to college then adults who can vote.  I'm eager to see who they evolve into, but I'm not trying to rush it.  I imagine that Future Meg would look back at me now and tell me not to worry about the messes.  I'm not chasing the kids around with a lint roller and clorox wipes or anything, but sometimes I react to messes the wrong way.  

A while ago, Joseph came over to play with Burl.  After an hour, he brought him happily inside and Burl was filthy.  Inside myself, I freaked out a little bit and told Joseph something about how he should clean him off before he brought him in.  I made everyone freeze in place while I stripped Burl down, cleaned him up, & swept up the house where he tracked dirt.  That was my first reaction.  It wasn't asking him if he had fun or talking to him about what he did.  My first reaction to a very happy Burl was to clean him and tell Joseph how to treat my house.  I think about that moment a lot and feel repulsed.  That's not how I want to greet my happy children or my brother who's being a great uncle.  I don't want to see the mess before I see the people.  I want my house to be available to everyone anytime, no matter how clean or dirty.

Even though I won't plop muddy Burl on the white couches and talk to him for hours until seeing the mess, I want to react differently. I'm not letting anyone paint on the walls (yet) or stack furniture, but I am starting to relax.  


  1. I'm with you! That's just the right attitude and balance to have!

  2. Relax! It only gets worse. Wait til Fern gets into painting her nails. Bathrooms get nastier and nastier the older they get. Life is short...