The Mess of Childhood

It’s confession time.

I have no interest whatsoever in football. Sunday afternoon, Monday night- couldn’t care less. Fantasy, watching it, obsessions, rivalries- no. What I’m thinking when forced to watch it would shock you.

“His poor knees. They must hurt.”

“Is he enjoying this? It doesn’t look like fun.”

“Look at those drunk people. I hope they didn’t spend too much on their tickets.”

The real confession though is that I struggle tremendously with Seb eating.

The fear of choking is ever present but definitely lessened since the day I saw him shove an entire piece of toast in his mouth and work through that situation.

My real issue now is the barbecue sauce in his hair. The oatmeal in his ears. The avocado up the nose. The pasta sauce in his eyes.

It sounds so insignificant, but my perfectionist tendencies thoroughly reject messes in all shapes and sizes.

It’s gotten to the point that I strategically plan to give Sebastian foods that produce the least clean-up afterwards.

I stood in the kitchen at the fridge the other day looking for lunch options for my hungry dinosaur and absentmindedly grabbed a blackberry and popped it in my mouth.

Sebastian watched me with his mouth open in amazement and then excitedly bounced up and down in his seat reaching for the air in front of him, willing the blackberries to materialize in front of him.

“No way.” I thought, “too messy.”

And then I immediately felt ashamed that I would deprive him the joy of a sweet, stain- invoking blackberry.

He tasted it for one second and then obliterated it in his fist.

I felt frustration bubbling forth when I was struck with the thought “so what?”

So what if he makes a mess. So what if I spend more time cleaning up after his adventures than sitting around in a clean home.

I have a tendency to idealize past states of life. The days I was pregnant and napping for 3hrs at a time. When I was single, working out and tanning all day. The days of being 7 years old and running off the end of the dock into the ice cold lake at my grandparents summer cottage.

Ok, the cottage days still are and always will be idealized in mind because they were perfection. Happiness peaks at 7 years old, after all.

But those days I held my belly while sitting in a perfectly clean house, I was waiting for the days I could kiss these banana coated cheeks. Laying out in the sun as a free agent with an open schedule, I day dreamed about the ordinary, every day with a husband.

This is the good part. This is the part worth waiting for. I get to see my little human feel the difference between rough tree bark and cool metal. To play with the springs of a whisk, and the squishiness of a berry.

Childhood involves water all over the bathroom after the bath, toys in the cupboards and tupperware in the bedroom. Laundry on the floor and dirty knees.

The thing that needs to change is not the the amount of rice smashed into the grout. It’s my expectations and goals for the day.

Did Sebastian learn? Did we laugh together and play and is he tired and happy? Then my mission as his mother and teacher is correctly prioritized

The more I traverse this unguided path of motherhood, the more I am convicted that it is specifically tailored by God to bring me to Heaven. They say being a mom brings out the best in you, and that’s true, but it also bring out the flaws, like a splinter working it’s way to the surface. Necessary to bring about healing and wholeness, but painful.

I can find excuses not to change when it’s for me, or even for the self-sufficient adult I’m married to, but my baby?

Hell no. He deserves the best I have to give, and I am utterly convinced from my mom bun to my birthing hips that I won’t hold on to perfectionism and deprive him of his messes.

Do your worst, Seb.

I’ll cheer you on and follow with a spray bottle and paper towels.






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