Monday, July 16, 2012

Don't Step in the Dirt!

I carefully sweep the corners, under the table, and even that spot under the chair that seems to gather more dust than the exposed areas. I start to gather it into one messy pile when a spontaneous game of tag erupts. "Don't step in the dirt!" I call to two oblivious boys and their little tag-along. It scatters as they do, rushing to the basement in pursuit of the one not "It".

I sigh and start my sweeping again. As I stand in the doorway, she comes in thoughtfully. "Hey, Mom? Can I ask you something?" I bite my lip and bite back the unformed words as I nod, helplessly watching as she tracks through my freshly regathered pile.

When I'm finally satisfied that all are off in other rooms, my brooms pulls at the crumbs of a busy family and what is left behind from their eating, playing and creating. Intent on that hard-to-reach corner, I don't hear my husband come up behind me. "Honey, I'm home!" I turn to see him in the doorway, work weary. I smile and go to meet him, and we stand together in the mess as we embrace.

How often have I carefully swept up my little grievances and my pain? I put it into neat little piles, and ask everyone to please step around it. To understand the effort I have put forth in gathering it. Life is messy, but at least controlled. Or so I think.

So many trample through it and scatter it. It's almost impossible for them to avoid it. After all, it stands in the way. I place it between myself and those that love me most. Sometimes you just have to step in the dirt to reach out.

I'm back to sweeping the kitchen. This time dishes have been washed, and the remains of the meal seem to have all made it to the floor. We've sipped and tasted and left behind the rest, and it has settled to crumbs and debris around my feet.

As I once again gather piles, I'm aware of someone entering the kitchen. "Don't step in the dirt!" I say, a little too forcefully. No answer. I turn to see his sweet smile. "I won't, Mommy! I'm here to help you." He eagerly steps forward with dustpan in hand and stoops to the floor.

We gather it all, every bit. Then, he carefully lifts the trash can lid, and it settles down once again. Gone. "Now the floor is all clean, Mommy! Let's play!" I smile and put away my broom and dustpan. No longer guarding my piles. It's time for play!

Time for joy.

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