It rained yesterday. It rained HARD. It was the kind of much-needed ridiculous, relentless, driving rain that gave us exactly two options: Play in it, or hole up inside for a day of Netflix-watching and eating stuff.
We did both.
When we came inside, I was hit with a heavy case of the Mondays, and wanted nothing more than to just sit for awhile. There was laundry to do, and floors to sweep, and bathrooms to clean, but first…. sitting. Lots of sitting. When I realized that Tegan had gone back outside, and was happily involved in her own project (and had been for quite some time) I mustered up the energy to take advantage of the quiet and get a little housework done:
Pop in some laundry. Run the vacuum. Sweep the hall. I did the bathrooms – my least favorite thing – last, and once they were sparkling to my liking, I headed back to my chair to resume my sitting. I passed Tegan on the way; a joyful little blur of pink and mud. Heavy on the mud.
I found her in the bathroom I’d just cleaned about 18 seconds earlier. In her split second head start, she’d gotten mud on the floor, mud on the toilet, mud on the mirror, mud on the counter, mud in the sink. She was happily chatting away as she ran the water and filled up the sink, gently washing the mud off the Barbie that had just gotten a head-to-toe mud treatment at the Spa of Tegan.
“You little stinker. I just cleaned the bathroom!” Only I didn’t say it. I wanted to say it. I almost said it. In countless other similar situations, I’d said it. But this time, in that moment …. I saw her. I really saw her. Happy. Healthy. Innocent. Chatting about her Barbie and how much she’d liked her mud bath. Talking about how black the water was getting. Wondering out loud what she was going to play when she was done.
I am so lucky.
And if I’d commented about the mess, even in a joking and lighthearted way, it might have stolen a piece of that moment. It might have taken away a piece of that joy. It might have prevented me from seeing, from really being there.
Yes, it’s a lesson I’m destined to learn over and over and over, but it’s an important one. And she teaches it better than anyone I know.
I said nothing about the mess, and when I did clean it up I was able to do it with a genuine smile. I will clean the bathroom, even if I just cleaned it.
I will clean it again. If it means happy and healthy and curious kids, I will clean it a thousand times.