For the past five years, we and our college friends have scheduled a weekend getaway in February. We’ve explored ice caves in Bayfield, played snow football in Sauk Center, strapped on snowshoes in Garrison (twice), and this year, braved a major snowfall to relax in the woods by Balsam Lake.
I always look forward to the weekend away. There is amazing food. (Seriously, how are all our friends such gourmands?) Laughter so hard it makes my gut hurt. Serious conversation over strong, dark coffee. Community.
Here’s the rub. For some reason, I have a strange new tendency to get stressed out about things being messy. Ask Jason. He’s dealt first-hand with my no-reason meltdowns. I think his favorite was the recent two-day crab fest I threw about not being able to see the floor of the bedroom. (Which was my own fault – I’ve been mining my drawers and closet for anything that still remotely fits.)
For those of you that know me, you realize just how weird this is. I’m not a neat freak. I’m not even that neat. I get a little punchy about the floors being dirty, but otherwise, I can ignore prize-winning dust collections with the best of them. So getting stressed about messiness is a true pregnancy symptom.
There was plenty of mess this weekend. Eight adults, four toddlers, and one infant generate a whirlwind of paraphernalia. We all had our own bedrooms, but the common areas were an onslaught of crayons, dinosaurs, and Mr. Potato Head mustaches. This didn’t include the various water glasses, mugs, snack plates, books, phones, and keys that multiplied as fast as unpaired socks. It was a very benign version of my pregnant nightmare.
But I decided, Saturday morning, to face it head-on. To sit down in the middle of the chaos. To quit cleaning and play with my daughter, who insists on waking up at 6:45 am even on friend’s weekend. Why? Because pretty soon, there are going to be two more babies in my house. And babies produce mess after mess after mess. I am going to have to learn to live with it. Cook alongside it. Clean it when I can.
What I hope I find buried knee deep in the toy box and burp rag bin is grace. Grace that takes the time to play. Grace that wipes up spit-up and scrubs stains out of white onesies. Grace that puts the dirty details firmly in their place once and for all.