Family Stuff

I recently saw an image of my livingroom pop onto a screen at a relative's house, and was amazed at the amount of floor space I used to have.  I could see the entire room without a car, sock, cup, or random scrap pile of paper.  The only things on the rug were children (not mine), and the wood floors reflected light! Our house isn't huge, but it surely felt bigger before we had children.

When I came home later, it was as if the walls were squeezing in on me.  I was greeted with dozens of shoes, sneakers, workboots, cleats and flip flops cluttering the floor, and a basket attempting to contain baseball equipment hanging out in the corner.   Sometimes the 'stuff' of my family of five overwhelms like a glacier slowly creeping in till I suddenly can't overlook the fact that something huge is looming.  Truth be known, of course, there is nothing particularly large or obviously responsible for taking up the space we once had in my house except maybe my children, who aren't that big.  They have an indescribable knack for covering any flat surface faster than a storm whips up on Big Sebago, by setting down one little thing after another.  The fact is, this was all cleaned up not very long ago, we cleared rugs for vacuming, and tables for projecting.  It can sometimes take just one rainy day, or one hour of mom writing or doing anything "in the other room" while my kids play together, that is the loose brick that ultimately breaks the dam, or opens the floodgates.

As I glance around, I see childrens' scissors sprawled open on my desk, abandoned just five short feet from the jar that ought to contain several pair but holds none.  A tubby duck lay on its back smiling up at me from next to the scissors, the top of a nearby toy shelf holds a recent art project of hot glued popcicle sticks and lego figures possibly trying to look sea worthy (or see worthy?) floating next to a Goldiblocks set, abandoned at the mouth of the River "I'm not done yet, I will put it away later." and merging with more hot glue projects of plastic cups with  stick ladders and straws glued onto them, dumping into the sea of "these are so special, they should adorn the remaining flat surface" On the floor are containers of cars, lego parts and miscellaneous sciency type projects that "not me" left, instead of moving them a foot, two feet, six inches. . . to the shelf where they might be considered put away.  This is just when glancing to my left, and frankly I don't have the energy to describe in detail the miscellaneous dolls, stuffies, books and so on that cascade to my right.

Honestly, if this were my classroom, we would have a meeting, do some interactive modeling and practice "taking care of our room and our things", and I would do this without resentment.  Somehow at home, I feel like "Geeze do we really need to go over this again, same kids, same house, sort of the same stuff. . .?"  I guess it is the nature of the beast, because my kids really do need to be reminded, often, just as sure as Charlie reminded me tonight when he mirrored my own thoughts on the subject, "It just sort of builds up slowly, I don't really notice it until one day I come home and, Whoa!"