Before I had children, no one told me how sneaky I would have to become as a parent. How, in order to keep the house from folding in on itself from all the doodads and detritus and general junk accumulated at an alarming rate by the wee ones I would need to make regular trips through the house when the children are away or asleep in order to gather up bits and pieces and odds and ends to toss or give away. How the sound of that sweet little wonder-filled voice in the breezeway next to the giveaway boxes would strike frustration to the core of me: “Oh! I remember this!” This being a hard plastic Garfield tchotchke with a head that rotates on some sort of spring mechanism, only the spring part is broken, and the nameplate on the base has begun to wear off, leaving the letters “arf.” (Please don’t dig any deeper in that bag, please. . .)
So what a surprise today when we were cleaning and tidying, and all of a sudden my gadget-obsessed seven-year-old was handing me his entire collection of broken calculators, and the four-year-old gave away all the Angry Birds kitsch he scored at a birthday party two weeks ago.
These kids are so often little walls of resistance, using every tool they can create to define their own parameters, to make their choices their own. I am finding that there’s an exquisite balance here–to nurture and bless their autonomy while also giving them the boundaries they need in order to thrive. Sometimes my refusal to budge creates greater walls, creates defiance. And sometimes their resistance is simply rote reaction, and all they need is a little push from me.
I don’t like to be forced to give up my stuff either, but occasionally I would be glad of a little gnome wandering through my house at night and packing off a handful of projects that haven’t seen the light of day for months or years. She just needs to get them out of the house before I wake up and see them: “Oh! I remember this!”
1. Being considered for the job, even if it’s not my skill set.
2. Cleaning out
3. Clearing up
4. Seed Catalogs
5. Nothing is Written in Stone
May we walk in Beauty.