The past crashed in out of nowhere
While I vacuumed today,
And I swear it sucked my breath away.
For years I navigated that clangorous machine
Around all manner of childhood debris:
Burp rags and teething toys,
Then legos and tea cups,
Dollhouse ottomans, and little collections of God knows what.
Later came so many nylon gym shorts,
Books, binders, fusty old socks,
Riding boots complete with a coating of horse hair and dust-
It seemed endless.
But it wasn’t.
And the wide open spaces
Of perfectly clean carpet
Waiting for me in every quiet room today
Didn’t bring me any joy.
The absence of clutter
Made the job simpler
But, oh so much harder
For my heart.
I shut that trusty old workhorse off
And just sat in the silence
To cry out the grief
And work through the disbelief,
That those years are really gone.
They’re really, really gone.
I want to say to all you dear mamas
Still cleaning around the detritus
Of a full and messy house…
Sit down and enjoy the wreckage.
Whether you have one, three, or eight,
Go grab those havoc-wreaking creatures
You’re blessed to call “Your Kids”
And join them in their play
Or just listen to them laugh.
Because some day,
I know you know,
They’ll move on
And mess up their own house
They’ll secure with their own job,
In their own life,
And this will be good-
But it sure won’t be the same.
Some days you will miss them
With breathtaking intensity.
Believe it or not,
You’ll even miss the mess.