Letting Go

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Went to church this morning. The topic was all about letting go of obsessive control and giving things to God. The preacher asked for a show of hands as to who might think they had an issue with being too controlling in areas of their lives. I didn’t raise my hand. Not because I didn’t think it was an issue for me. But because I was too busy straightening the sleeve on my shirt and lining my pen up in the crook of my notebook justsostraight. You see I am a self proclaimed OCDer. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Or, as the joke goes….CDO. As it SHOULD be. My issue is order. I dream of living in a world where everything is in its place. Everything is matching and smootha nd in perfect symmetry. I waste hours of my life doing menial tasks like organizing he inside of my fridge. And I mean ORGANIZING. Cooking condiments in one spot, sandwich condiments in another, pickled products in another, all lined up smallest to biggest with labels facing forward. I get a sick satisfaction and joy when I look at all my matching towels folded identically and evenly spaced on the bathroom shelf. I get giddy when I organize the pantry shelves and will drag my hubby into the pantry to revel in the beauty. (Where I expect and assume he will applaud and kiss my feet at my artistry)
You can imagine, living in a house with 7 guys, how very easy and non-time consuming it is to live like this.
Now, some organization is called to order when you are a mama of six. No doubt about it. Could you imagine what my house would LOOK like (or smell like) if I didn’t keep on top of the important stuff?
But it’s dawned on……this home will be here forever. There will always be time to line up the knick knacks or scrub the outside top of my fridge (yeah. I do that. Once a month.) But these boys…..these precious amazing silly marvelous boys will not BE boys forever. Someday they will be men and gone from this home. Then I will perhaps miss the fingerprints that drive me so nutso on my windows. I’ll miss the tiny little toys scattered on my bedroom floor. I’ll wish I had spent more time playing and making memories.
I know my mom must have kept a tidy home when I was little. But I only assume this because I know she keeps a tidy home NOW. Do I honestly recall what state of cleanliness my home was in when I was a child? Heck no. What I do recall is the days she took me to the beach or played outside in our yard with me or sat and read my brother and I The Hobbit. Because that is what TRULY matters in the long run.
I think part of the reason I get so obsessive about my home looking “perfect” is I worry what others will think of me. I have gotten some rather rude messages on FB rom folks who apparently think they know me, accusing me of being lazy because I do not have employment outside of my home. (Man I WISH I only worked 8 hours a day!) My brain tries to convince me that if the house looks immaculate then its at least physical proof I DO something with my days. (As if Im going to invite all those jerks over for tea at some point or something.)
But is a spotless shiny house proof of a life well lived? Seriously?
How about the fact I can name all of my sons friends and tell you who my 9 year old has a crush on and what subject my oldest son struggles with the most in school. My 6 month old almost never cries because Mommy is always there to comfort and nurse him. Im here when my 4 year old has a nightmare or my 5 year old has an upset tummy. No one else cares for my sick children. They have my comforting presence. I get to show them edible flowers and roots on hikes through the woods. I get to teach them how to throw a perfect spiral in football and how to catch fireflies in a mason jar. I get to sit on the deck and watch them learn to ride bikes without training wheels and play soccer together, their shouts and laughter floating through the air and echoing off the mountains that surround our house. These are moments never to be retrieved. Engraved on my heart. I am here to guide and lead and love and teach.
I’d take that over a perfect looking home any day.
So, the next time you come to my house and the dishes are piled up or the laundry pile actually speaks to you as you walk past it in the laundry room….the next time you take note of the peanut butter smears on the door or the dusty tv……well, take a look at my kids. They are healthy and happy and oh-so-very-loved. Maybe I haven’t gotten around to matching up that basket of socks yet today, but I did laugh with my boys and read to them in a british accent and teach them about hummingbirds and talk to them about respecting ladies……They might go to church with moms mismatched socks on their feet. (True story. My 5 year old had one pink and one purple on this morning) but go ask him when was the last time his mama played with him. (I made a playdough zoo with him today.)
I’m shifting priorities.
Letting go never felt so good.

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