Tuesday morning I sank into my favorite chair, coffee mug in hand, robe firmly affixed to my person. I was a vision of loveliness, I assure you.

I set my coffee cup down on the 1970s hi-fi we keep in that corner of the living room (because the Clemences are all about 8 tracks, if you have a stack in a closet you’d like to get rid of) and noticed a pile of crumbs. Cookie crumbs.

I plopped the mug right on top of the crumbs and smiled.

Something caught my eye across the room and I laughed out loud. An entire shelf of books had been haphazardly rearranged like some sort of toddler army had been playing library. And that’s exactly what had happened, I reckon. I didn’t actually see the stubby librarian in action, but it’s a fair guess.

They still look like this, two days later.
They still look like this, two days later.

Monday nights our small group meets at our house. When we first started we had one toddler and four babies on the way. Now we have two little girls who are two-ish and four (count them, four) one-year old boys. We also have a newborn and another one due any day. And we can’t forget the two tweens who live in this house and keep it “child-friendly” on a daily basis.

If life and God had left me to my own devices, I’d keep my home like a magazine spread. The floors would be polished, the books tidily stacked in some artsy way, the stools at the breakfast bar lined up in military precision.

Lucky for me, God and children of all types have been giving me a reason to get over myself for twelve years now.

The pile of books and cookie crumbs are proof that life exists in this home. A herd of tiny people feels comfortable here, rummaging through my tupperware cupboard and the shoe closet.

One of the children, who shall remain nameless, took to ¬†finding the bag of potatoes and taking a bite out of one each week. I thought this was hilarious. She hasn’t done it for a few months now, and I sort of miss her once-bitten potatoes I’d find next to the shoes.

If you’re living in a potato-strewn, book-piled, crumb-covered place today, take heart. Life is messy. Relationships are messy. Toddlers are the messiest of them all.

The mess is proof of life and love and a future.

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5 Comments on The Aftermath (things I find after the toddlers leave)

  1. David
    November 4, 2015 at 6:39 pm (1 year ago)

    There was an 8-Track in the officer’s bar on my first ship. In 1973! It was terrible. It chewed all the tapes. It was worse than a cassette player.

    Your home sounds a lot like ours. Like you I used to strive for tidiness. These days I am happy to live in a home that is lived in.

  2. Jessie Clemence
    November 4, 2015 at 8:46 pm (1 year ago)

    Although the floor of Caleb’s room has deteriorated to the point of being an actual safety hazard– Legos everywhere. That’s going a bit far, maybe.

  3. David
    November 5, 2015 at 6:53 am (1 year ago)

    John’s room isn’t any better. The Lego is mostly on his desk. This is the desk he is supposed to use for homework (when he manages to do it). However, this does mean that he has to clear sufficient floor space to lie down on the floor and use the floor as a desk.

    Funny that Lego has a plural in the US. We just say Lego for the singular and the plural.

  4. Jessie Clemence
    November 5, 2015 at 2:08 pm (1 year ago)

    We found that funny about the word “sports” in Ireland. They kept calling it sport, singular. It made us giggle every time!

  5. David
    November 5, 2015 at 3:09 pm (1 year ago)

    We do that too. Sport is both singular and plural. Funny old world.