This past weekend our family ventured into an area that would frighten most. Some might even question the appropriateness of involving small children in such a quest, one that until just recently, haunted my dreams and plagued me with undue anxiety. But with fortitude, strength and determination that came from a place deep within, the five of us held hands and bravely crossed over into the land where the unknown was waiting.
Before you nominate our family for one of those makeover shows like Clean Sweep, where they badger and ridicule you about your chaos and disorder but then, miraculously, transform your mess into an organized environment that promises perpetual happiness and overall content, let me explain.
Our playroom is not attached to our home, a location that is both inconvenient and unfortunate. (Or depending on how you look at it, or the particular mood you may be in, both convenient and fortunate considering it is a separate building designated for children. AS IN OUT OF YOUR HOUSE. Just sayin'...)
Because of the location, I can sometimes pretend that the mess does not exist, sort of the same way I can avoid a full length mirror and pretend my thighs REALLY aren't touching one another when standing up straight. The ostrich and I - we are kin.
However, we recognized that in order for the children to play with their toys, they have to be able to get to their toys, so with a renewed sense of purpose and potential for INDEPENDENT PLAY, we approached the overhaul of the playroom with a vigor that might impress the anal retentive producers of HGTV.
An inventory of the room determined that there was much to be thrown away, donated away or given away. We sorted the various contents and made an impressive pile for each category, sometimes debating the worth of various items with each protesting owner.
Me: “This voice activated doll sounds scary. (MAAA MAAA, GRRRRRR) Since it is broken, we should throw it in the trash.”
Mary Mac: “But I like it when the baby growls at me.”
Me: “ I guess you guys have outgrown your collection of Rescue Heroes. Should we give them to our neighbor, Jamie?”
Chase: “Sure. Remember the time when I was four and I called 911 and asked the operator if I could speak to Billy Blazes?”
Me: “ Don’t you think it’s time to retire the third grade little league football trophy?”
My husband: “ But I worked really hard to earn that award…..”
It was both satisfying and nostalgic to sort through the contents that reminded me of past birthdays and holidays, each occasion igniting a memory that caused my eyes to fill. The tears were from a happy place, one that was so grateful that God allowed me the privilege to be a part of rather than a place of remorse that a particular stage was no longer.
I have always said that it is difficult to embrace the adventure of the future if you are always holding on to the stagnancy of the past. I don’t want to live a life that mourns what once was, but instead excited about what will be.
So new trails, new adventures, continued family joy for our family of five. Cooler toys and games will replace the old, and I suspect that the same kind of disorder that occurred before in the playroom will sneak up on us again.
Which is fine by me as long as it stays in the unattached building.