The Evidence of Children

It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes I am left alone in our home. My husband just left to take the big kids to school and the little ones to the park. The door shut, and the sounds in this home went from a vibrant, climactic heartbeat to a still, dull flatline.

I absorb it like sunshine on my skin for a moment, and then I begin to clean and prepare to get the red-carpet scroll of things done while I am alone. It’s a race to the finish line when the front door opens and little feet and big personalities race in.

Our home is lived in. I often lament during times like these or before we invite company over that our home looks like Romper Room. The children’s areas are everywhere. There’s a play yard in our living room, soccer nets in our back yard, and children’s chairs at the dining table in place of adult ones. We don’t have much space, and that’s ok. It’s just right for our family right this minute.

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As I begin to pick up the breakfast dishes and pajamas strewn across the couch, I notice that every single part of our lives is filled with the love and happy chaos of children. 

The bannister leading up the stairs is covered in finger prints and now leprechaun feet from the holiday just past. He came in through the window and dusted everything in green paint and glitter. 

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Various pairs and single shoes are often lying at the front door, when they remember to take them off coming inside. We had a strict no-shoe policy when we lived in New York, and we’re trying to get back to being more diligent about it. Most days I find myself reminding them, sometimes gently, other times not as much as I’d like.

There is dried glitter dripped down the wall by our kitchen table from art projects hung too soon.  I haven’t tried to clean it up.

My desk bears the prints of creative hands. There are photos of our children everywhere we look, and that will never change. We celebrate and scream our love for these babes from the mountaintops. It’s the only way we know how to be, to live, to walk, to run and stumble throughout this parenting journey. These are our racing numbers, displayed proudly on our trunks.

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Our kitchen is constantly disheveled. It’s the belly of our home, our life; Where our babies took her first bites of food, the table on which our Easter eggs are dyed and space where tears are dried from homework battles.

The love notes hang as reminders of ourselves. My husband’s loving post-it’s listing the things completed before racing out to work before we’ve risen, and the constant flow of adoration in freshly printed letters from Zoe. She’s just found her literacy wings and she is soaring.

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Backpacks hang waiting, individual socks lay waiting. Their mates are almost always rogue amongst the jungle of laundry that ebbs and flows throughout the week.

Beau’s trains and Jack’s books can be found everywhere. I’m frequently chuffed that their things are constantly peppering the tables and floors, but it will be so much worse when they aren’t. 

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My vanity is piled with hand crafted ceramics and my bathroom is decorated in bath toys even though the kids have their own space for that. As much as these things all clog the atmosphere of my physical and mental space, I don’t want to imagine the days when I walk into a room and there aren’t fresh little finger prints on the mirrors or dirty kid’s spoons left over from breakfast.

These things that I see every single day, everywhere I look, are consuming. It feels overwhelming and yet completely comforting at the same time.

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As much as I struggle to keep up with the task of raising children, this is my everything and my happy, exhausting, wild and crazy universe. I cannot imagine my life without every single facet of my mind, my home and my days being filled with the evidence of my children.

 

 

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14 Comments

  • Beautiful, Jess!


  • I have a three year old and an almost 6 month old. Thank you for writing this today. I needed to be reminded that these are the best days of my life no matter how challenging they can be.


  • I finally stopped apologizing to guests to please excuse the mess when they come in. That would indicate that there is a period of time when there isn’t chaos in my house. Legos, barbie shoes, a dog crate in the formal dining room. I will miss it when it’s gone and not a part of my normal. In the meantime, I love my organized chaos.


  • This post resonates so much. When you wrote ” I’m frequently chuffed that there are things are always peppering the tables and floors, but it will be so much worse when they aren’t.” I started to well with tears. Could not be more spot on. I’ll ty and remember this when I fluster and cringe at the mess and chaos left behind by the littles. Thank you for sharing your sweet insight.


  • I LOVE this!

    And I am going to show it to my mom, who at 74 stills insists to me that, “People don’t live like this! I go to other people’s houses and they don’t have piles of papers and clutter. There houses are tidy and things have their places.”

    I know that some people do have tidy, organized homes. But I am sure that if they have kids, they must have SOME evidence of it at some points during the week.

    In my house, there is constant evidence and constant clutter. I do my best, but I can’t keep up to them, let alone their messes.

    But, I would rather have a messy house than a perfect empty lonely house. I love my messy life!


  • I was at a baby shower once and a couple of older ladies were talking about another lady, who had pasted away, they both knew and said, “She kept a perfectly clean house.” I thought, oh God I want people have lots more to say about me then that.
    Live life, be the best you can be, but don’t sweat the small stuff.


  • I often find myself so frustrated at these little messes: the milky spoon left on the table, Mr Potato Head at my workspace, tiny underthings that just missed the hamper. But you nailed it. Some day — in warp speed probably — those little kid things will go away. Might as well cherish it. xo


  • Beautiful post – my favorite part was how we would miss it all the mess when it was no longer there.


  • A clean and tidy home is overrated and appears to be of a priority over a happy,loved family. A home that looks lived in is a testament to a happy,loved and secure family. There will be plenty of time for a tidy home once the kids are grown and gone.


  • We had a bag full of lost socks and every other month or so I would try to match them…it never ends.


  • Wonderfully written post. Thank you for sharing. On a day where I felt less of a mother, worrying about getting everything “done” you helped me remember what it is that makes me truly happy. With 5 kids in every age group 4 to 19 and all in between- life goes by very fast. Thank you for the quiet read.

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