Tuesday morning I looked at the clock when I got up, knowing the day ahead would be busy. I felt a little panicked. It had been a long weekend with the children home and my house displayed it. I started in the kitchen. I emptied the clean dishes from the dishwasher and put them away. The counters had raspberry jam and bread crumbs, a small puddle of spilled milk and a coloring book with crayons scattered around.
The bedroom had an unmade bed, half the covers on the floor, the rest full of lumps and wrinkles. On the floor were dirty socks, a pair of jeans, a sweater and papers left over from homework from the week before. In the corner I saw a stacked pile of folded clothes slightly toppled. Clothes I had washed dried and place on the dresser of my daughter's room for her to put away.
I sighed. The bathroom didn't look much better. Wet towels dangling precariously from a hook, smeared toothpaste on the counter and sink, an empty toilet paper roll and more dirty socks. The mirror was smeared with handprints.
My son's rooms were even worse. In one you could barely see the floor, in another piles were everywhere. Books, papers, clothes clean and dirty, broken pencils, empty wrappers and an assortment of miss-matched legos.
It was the beginning of a new week, how could my house already be in such disarray? Saturday had barely passed, the day when our family was supposed to do major cleaning, which everyone had assured me they had.
The laundry basket was overflowing, bills needed to be paid, and garbage cans emptied and taken outside. I went in to my closet to find a sweater and looked around it with dismay, even it needed cleaning. It was 10 a.m. in the morning and I already felt tired and discouraged, my physical energy drained from worrying, how could I possibly get everything done.
I knew I needed to just pick a room and start. None of them were extensively dirty, just cluttered and a bit disorganized, but it frustrated me. Why did I always have to be the one to keep my house in order when everyone else kept messing it up?
The phone rang, somebody needed me for something. I glanced around the house again inwardly shuddering, telling myself I wasn't making the grade. I had twenty-four hours in my day like everyone else, why did it never seem enough? Everyday there was something I didn't get done that I wanted, too. It was frustrating.
That afternoon I spent an hour playing with my grandson. Part of the time we blew bubbles. Iridescent balls of different sizes, floating in the air lit my grandson's face with excitement and wonder. His laughter echoed around my troubled heart.
He wasn't worried about whether or not I'd vacuumed the living room floor or scrubbed away the ring around the tub. It didn't matter to him there were shoes in an annoying pile by the front door or crumbs under my kitchen table. His face lit with joy when I blew on a small wand from a bottle, a bottle that cost less than a dollar from the store.
My worries faded away. For a few minutes time seemed to stop. All that mattered was the smile on a little boy's face and his giggling laughter that warmed my heart. Why do we tell ourselves we don't have time for the little things in life? How do we not?