Letter to My Mother Upon Her Arrival at My House

Dear Mom,

I’m looking forward to seeing you. Your bed is made and your bathroom is clean but that’s really about all. Otherwise the house is a mess, there is no food and I’m not sure when I’m going to grocery shop today in between writing, the dojo, ferrying kids to appointments and the parkour gym and band. While I wish I could greet you with a dinner plan and vacuumed carpet, it’s not to be.

No, there’s dog hair on the stairs, several science experiment worthy containers in the fridge, a basket of laundry and a bag of trash in the hallway, stacks of books and papers by my desk and bed. Oh, and my bed. It’s unmade. It still has the down comforter on it with no cover. I washed our usual comforter a week ago. It’s still hanging on the clothes line in the laundry room because I haven’t had the time to change the sheets or put the cover back on the bed.

A few weeks a go you were here and graciously rescued me from drowning in all the clothes I had washed and dried but never folded. I’ve been grateful ever since and I keep forgetting to mention it. I’m really good at washing and drying. The folding and putting away part trips me up.

The problem with laundry (and grocery shopping) is that the process has too many parts. Gather it all. Take it to the laundry room. Sort it. Wash it. Dry it. Fold it. Put it back into laundry baskets. Distribute it. Put it away.

I find tasks most often get done if they take one step. When two steps are required, you’re getting iffy. Three steps, forget it. So you can see that completing the laundry process is hopeless based on that.

Also, there are papers, cookbooks, pill minders, 1/2 of an avocado on a cutting board, a variety of empty can and bottles, mail and notes on the kitchen counter.

In short, my house is one big wreck right now. I don’t like it this way and I wish it were different but it’s not. But here’s the thing—what I’m telling you but mostly what I’m telling myself is this: this is the picture of a life being oh, so fully lived. I’n having so much fun (well, except for the parenting teenagers part)—delving fully into writing and back at the dojo and trying to stay connected to friends, a new book group, reading poetry and as always, reading three books at a time.

You know that song, This Girl is On Fire? That’s how I feel right now. On fire, blazing, my mind zooming with ideas right until the moment I fall asleep. I’ve got more ideas than I know what to do with. I feel a great blossoming, full of potential, like I’m moving into the next phase of my life. Inspired, moving forward, grabbing life by the fistful with both hands. Full and inspired a way I haven’t felt in a long time.

The price for this seems to be a big mess at home, dinner produced on a just-in-time inventory system, and dog hair on the stairs. Do I like the mess? No. But controlling mess is just like trying to control other areas of life. Sometimes you just can’t. I think there will be time In my life to have a neat house. Will there be? Will I have more time? Maybe. But for now, I’m trying to embrace the mess. It’s kind of all a big mess right now. Like a good mess. The kind of mess that says energy and creativity and process live there. The kind of mess that says vitality and I-have-better-things-to-do-than-mop-the-floor. The kind of mess that says relax, go with it, let if flow.

So, welcome to my home. Welcome to my mess.