When coming home from a long day, what does a mommy see?

Diaper bag on the floor, laying up against the wall. Junk mail on the counter, unsorted. Dirty wipes on the kitchen table, with the empty container. Flashcards on the kitchen table, scattered under and around the wipes. Pens laying without lids on them. Dirty dishes and clean dishes randomly throughout the house. Empty juice containers on the floor. Toys put away, but not put away in the right spot. Beds unmade. Toilet flushed, but water running. Dirty clothes laying in the floor with pockets not cleaned out. Paper after paper after random scratch piece of paper cluttering tables, dressers, and countertops. Couch cushions hanging off the end of the couch. Dirty diaper hanging off of the youngest.

These are the things that surface. These are the things that pull a mommy’s eye.

How does a mommy respond?

Pick up the diaper bag, put it in it’s regular spot. Sort and throw away the junk mail, the dirty wipes, and empty containers. Flashcards are shuffled and shoved into their cardboard box. Pens find their lids and are placed in the basket where they belong. The endless supply of dirty dishes and laundry are sorted and washed and folded and put away to clear the constant clutter. Toys are glanced at and while it’s unnerving that they have not found their original intended spot in the room, it’s overlooked. At least the toys are not on the floor. The bed? The clock says 7:35 pm, so there is hardly a reason to wrestle the covers into the correct position. The toilet handle gets jiggled. Papers are thrown away while giving consideration to the markings on some, attempting to avoid throwing away something that is potentially meaningful. Cushions are repositioned, and the dirty diaper is changed.

And mommy keeps going.

The mommy then pulls the youngest close and walks tenderly to the nursery. The pacifier is placed in the youngest’s mouth and the humidifier is turned on. The mother rocks…and rocks….and rocks…and sings softly after reciting prayers, demonstrating the motions that the youngest is watching closely. The mommy steals kisses and pushes hair aside to wipe away the worries of the day, from mommy and baby both. The mommy lays the youngest down, winds the appropriate toys, and pushes the appropriate buttons to start the soothing music that lulls the youngest to sleep. The mommy walks tenderly, again, away from the room, whispering good night while closing the door.

The mommy then goes to the oldest, which is a far stretch for a toddler nearing her third birthday. But wait, the dryer has stopped. The five minute bed time warning is given while mommy proceeds to fold the endless amount of laundry that never goes away. Shirts are folded, shirts are placed on hangers, empty hangers are removed and placed in the right spot. Folded clothes are put away, out of sight and mind. The drawers are full, so clothes are shoved in before darting away to finish folding the remaining odds and ends. The wet clothes are transferred over, and a new load is started.

Now, it’s time to put the “oldest” to bed.

The TV is turned off. One library book is pulled from the stack, and mommy and oldest sprawl out on the floor, bellies down, to read. Mommy reads with inflection, pointing to faces and words and posing questions for thought. At it’s end, the oldest is prompted to give kisses and to go potty while the humidifier is turned on. When the oldest comes back, tomorrow’s clothes are picked out, for both youngest and oldest to hopefully avoid the morning struggle. Shoes are selected as well, because raising two girls comes with the understanding that shoes are a necessary part of an outfit. Lights are turned off, and sweet words request mommy to pray and sing alongside her in bed. Mommy dutifully crawls in and pulls the covers over the two of them as prayers are recited for the second time in the evening. Songs are requested, and mommy complies while making shadow puppets on the wall. Giggles are heard during silly songs and tickles. After the standard fourth (or fifth or sixth…) song, two hands are placed on mommy’s face with sweet words that show a lot of what mommy says is absorbed by a walking sponge whose sweet little brain is trying to make sense of it all. Reminders of the day ahead are provided, along with sweet “I love you’s”. Kisses are exchanged, along with good-nights whispered as mommy tiptoes out the door.

When coming home from a long day, what does a mommy see? Life. Life doesn’t stop because of dirty dishes. Life doesn’t stop because of a long day at work or a long day running errands or a day away for sanity’s sake. Life continues, without pause, with or without mommy picking up the pieces. Life continues despite worries, despite fears, despite rain, despite frustration. Life goes on, and in those moments, the mommy can decide what to focus on. Yes, there are messes. Yes, there are frustrations. Yes, there are endless amounts of piles of dishes and laundry that will never go away, despite load after load after load. And there are also four little eyes watching mommy at all times, biding for mommy’s attention, and wanting mommy to be a part of their life. The messes get addressed, but the blessings should get the attention. That’s my goal anyway.

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