I appreciate how important playtime is to my children. Family members, myself included, have graciously contributed to the playtime efforts through birthday gifts, holiday gifts, and just because gifts. Downstairs in the basement, we have a plastic house, bins filled with spiky dinosaurs, and we have strollers for baby dolls, teacups with princess stickers, and many trucks, large and small. The wooden table and chairs are usually ready for a tea party at a moment’s notice. Crayons, markers, and colored pencils no longer remain in their original packaging, but are set to create masterpieces. A too-short for outside basketball hoop lends itself to some wintertime shots.
However, I worry about cleaning up bright-colored, miniscule blobs of playdoh from the carpet. I have stepped on many a stray lego. And, when vacuuming, I have sucked up teeny-tiny high heel shoes that belong to Polly Pocket. I admit that I can be a bit particular (all right, fussy) when it comes to mess. I do not make my bed every morning, but I do like things in order. I expect my children to pick up after themselves, and sometimes they actually do without being reminded. In spite of my nagging to put their dirty clothes in the hamper and, no, the bathroom floor is NOT the hamper, and to throw bubble gum wrappers away, I realize that the mess does mean my kids are home and that they are living life, having fun, and learning. Will I miss cleaning up trails of jackets, ballet shoes, footballs, and juice boxes?
My son’s appetite for toys has grown to electronic games filled with hunts, duels and magic. The dress up clothes I used to clean up on a daily basis remain in their trunk longer and longer. Lost library books and missing earrings remind me just how quickly my children are growing up. I sincerely hope my children remember the joy of our home, and not my constant reminders to put their backpacks away…..