Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Muddy Hands

Piper runs into the house and over to me. I have been cleaning all day. All week actually. The house has reached that pinnacle of disaster where I can no longer live with it. Today I have tided up the kitchen and dining room and started in our living room which looks less lived than as "OMG A BOMB HAS DROPPED." Piper is yelling joyfully as she skids to a stop in front of me, her hand opened. She is covered in mud. It's been raining out and during a brief reprieve the girls have gone out to play with our new puppy. Mud covers her pants and shirt. She has forgotten to take her shoes off so mud is trailed from the back door to the living room. She has her hand opened and all I can see it black mud.

I open my mouth and then I close it. I was about to scold her for coming into the house muddy. For dirtying up the pants I just washed. For trailing mud all through the house into the area I almost done cleaning. Instead I swallow this all back and look at what is in her hands. She shows me some sprouts she proudly dug up. "What are they, Mama?" she asks eagerly. Proud of her discovery. I admit I don't know and suggest we look it up once she takes off her shoes and has a bath. She smiles, pleased with my exclamations of wonderment, not noticing that they are fake.

I go to run the bath bashing myself a bit for not being real. But I am upset over the mud. I hate cleaning. It does not come naturally to me, and forcing myself to do this takes a lot of work. Thus when I do it, it's hard to deal with it being undone in a moment. I have tried to be Buddhist about it. Tried to think of it as a lesson in impermanence. But really it just makes me cranky. It makes me feel resentful to be taken away from more enjoyable activities like reading or writing.

By now Piper has stripped down. Camille has entered the house also covered in mud. Rowena is whining because she wants in the tub now! As I frantically direct three little bodies into tub, picking up strewn clothes as they rush back with plastic horses and dogs, I see the shoots. They are tender white, with tiny green tendrils poking through. They lay on the side of the sink with a bit of dirty water pooling beneath them. I am awed at their fragility. Their smallness. And suddenly I remember what it was like to discover these things. Those precious moments of wonderment. Looking at Piper, her eyes shining as she hops into the top, I say with feeling "Those are so NEAT!. Where did you find them?"

Piper laughs. "They are NEAT! And we were just digging!"

1 comment:

S said...

This is really beautiful.