(Written Spring of 2014)
The Coach and I were recently discussing the fact (or I was, anyway - he was listening) that I have fallen a long way in the housekeeping/homemaking department as a wife and mom.
I know this. But I live in denial a great deal of the time.
Because who wants to think about how dirty one's house is? Or how disorganized? Or how totally out of control every. single. drawer. and cabinet are?
But the Coach and I? Decided that to find the humor in the situation, we only needed to look as far as my 22 year old, mother of one, homemaker self.
Because that girl? She could keep house like a boss!
The sheets were washed weekly. Weekly! I can't even imagine that one.
The bathroom was always spotless.
The floors were always clean.
The windows were washed regularly - at least Spring and Fall, or when needed.
The laundry was always caught up, neatly folded, put away, and ironing never piled up.
The fridge stayed clean and shiny. And although it wasn't full of food, as a rule, what food was in there was healthy.
I could go on.
So here's a note to my 22 year old self. Mother of one. Married a year or so. OCD in all things domestic.
"You're doing a great job, Girl! Navigating marriage, learning to love your husband and communicate with him. Serving him whole-heartedly and the house? It's clean. I mean CLEAN. Good for you! The flower beds are lovely - and I know you enjoy spending Saturdays with your Coach working outside in the yard. Because on Saturday the laundry is already caught up and the house is clean because you've been doing that all week long!
Love every newly-wed, brand new baby, all things are exciting and fresh and sunshiny, minute of it.
It won't last.
Someday, you'll look back and think, Wow. A clean house. What's that? You'll be juggling schedules and school for eight, and sports seasons (for your own kids, not just your husband's coaching). There will be eight people dependent on you instead of just one tiny baby. The house will be bigger (because that tiny baby - he'll grow into a big ole MAN - bigger than his daddy) because you will fill it up with eight kids who will soon (at least half of them) be young adults and young adults clothes are a lot bigger than baby clothes.
There won't be anymore diapers or bottles. But there will be cars and drivers licenses and JSB dresses and dates. There will be smart phones and internet to navigate (not just dial up email).
Someday, you and your new hubby won't be able to take naps on Sunday afternoons while the baby naps. Because big kids don't nap. And they are noisy.
"But even without the little, clean, perfectly organized house, you know what you will have?
OH if I could only show you.
"Almost 20 years with your Coach will be more amazing than you can imagine! You will truly experiences oneness and a closeness that at 22 you can't even dream of. You will be able to read each other's thoughts and when big decisions come? You'll often have the same exact idea about what needs to be done. And you won't for one. single. second. want to go back to those quiet, happy, newly wed days. Because forty somethings who have been married 20 years? They know what marriage is all about.
"And in place of the time spent keeping a perfect house? You'll have games and programs and you'll be able to hang with your big kids and you'll actually be able to walk out of the door almost any time without needing a baby sitter. It's awesome, trust me.
"Yes, the laundry piles will be a permanent fixture on the hearth and you'll have to go to the grocery store almost daily to keep up with the appetites of four teens, but you won't miss the quiet. Because you'll have the quiet - sometimes - during the day - when everyone is at school and it's just you and the parakeet at home (yes, you'll have a parakeet - but that's not the half of it).
"I know, I know, the grass won't grow under the swing set and the garage will be so full of bikes and scooters that you can't get around the car (you'll have a mini-van, too, and you will LOVE it!), and the eight lockers that hold back packs and shoes and gym bags WILL overflow onto the garage floor and you'll trip when you go out there early in the morning to get another loaf of bread out of the freezer to make those 9 lunches.
"But watching them all ride bikes (hard to imagine, isn't it?) and run and play and catch footballs and ride ripsticks down the street? The messy garage won't seem to really matter. And when it does? You can have the kids there to clean it up.
"They'll be able to do the dishes and make dinner, too. Fold laundry and clean their own rooms. But it won't always get done. Things will be a mess.
"And you'll love it. And wish for these days to last forever. But they won't. Because that tiny, first-born little guy that naps twice a day and takes all of your time? He'll be graduating from high school before you know it and heading off on the next adventure. They'll all be leaving as quickly as they came.
"So love on your Coach and kiss that baby and take a nap! Life is only going to get better."
If I only I could have imagined the JOY and noise and fun and MESS that life would hold. These are blessed, chaotic days and I wouldn't go back for anything. Well. Except maybe for the clean sheets. I miss those.