Relish the Mess

Today I’m writing for Five Minute Friday, where we write flat out for five minutes, unedited, on a one-word prompt. Join the fun with your own post or just read what others have done with their 300 seconds. Check it out at Today’s word is Mess.

Anyone who knew me “back when” – when my kids were little, then bigger, then teens — knows that my house was not always clean, my kids were not always (okay, hardly ever) perfectly appointed, my life was not uber-orderly. Sometimes – a lot of times – things were messy.

But I didn’t like it. I wasn’t comfortable with it. I fought against it as best I could, working full time and still trying to do it all with and for two active boys. And my way of fighting against it put me squarely in the habit of saying no as a first response to almost everything.

“Can we go …?”

“No. And it’s ‘may we’.”

“Can I have…?”

“No. And it’s ‘may I’.”

“Can I watch …?”

“No. AND IT’S ‘MAY I’!”

“Can {insert name here} come over?”

“No. And it’s … oh, never mind.”

Sometimes I said yes. Sometimes, when I wasn’t too tired to pack up the car and drive an hour, I’d say yes, we can go to the beach. Sometimes, when the moon was aligned just right, I’d say yes, you can have more ice cream. Sometimes, when I had taken time to let God be particularly present with me that day, I’d say yes, you can have a sleepover. Or you can stay up late. Or you can build a fort in the living room with all the pillows and blankets from all the beds.

But looking back I think I said no a lot more than I said yes.

I’m a grandma now, and my six-year-old granddaughter Calie is usually here with me at calie crafts2 least once a week. When she asks if she can “do art,” I say yes, even though I know I will have construction paper and pipe cleaners and glue and glitter all over everything for days to come.
calie cookingWhen she asks if she can help me cook, I say yes – and I actually let her help even when it means whatever we’re making doesn’t look just exactly perfect. Even when it means there is more flour on the floor than in the bowl, or that we have to spend five minutes picking egg shells out of the batter.



Even when it means a big old mess.

I see her face light up every time I say yes. I see her getting more and more creative every time she gets into her arts and crafts box. I see her getting better and better at keeping the ingredients in the bowl, better and better at measuring and stirring and rolling and even sometimes cutting (carefully supervised). And I wish – oh, how I wish! – I could get a do-over with my boys. If I could, I would say yes every chance I had, even when “no” was the easy way out. Especially when “no” was the easy way out.

If you have kids at home, listen carefully to what comes out of your mouth. If you hear “no” much more than “yes,” take a little advice from an older, hopefully wiser woman. “Yes” might mean a little extra effort for you right now, but the rewards are oh! so great.

Relish the mess of yes.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s