Friday, October 30, 2015

Let's Do {Real} Life

My in laws visited over the weekend. I love fall for family visits, when it's still warm enough to go outside and carve pumpkins but still chilly and dark enough in the evenings for movie nights and popcorn. We had intended to do family pictures, but Rosemary woke up on Sunday morning with swollen eyes, ear aches and a little bit of a fever. She felt (and honestly, looked, poor baby) awful, so we cancelled. Of course, as could have been predicted, she passed her ick to other family members and this week turned into the type that revs relentlessly but never really takes off.

It puts me in a funk, to be honest. From where I'm sitting now, I can see three laundry baskets of clothes - some clean, some dirty, some folded. We had pizza tonight because, although I went grocery shopping yesterday, I couldn't pull it together. School has been bare bones at best, and at worst - well, let's just say we all have several Daniel Tiger episodes completely memorized at this point. Chore charts have been tossed out the window, the girl's bedroom was turned into a fort several days ago and seems to have swallowed Rosie's shoes and someone decided to stick stickers all over the door to the boys room. It makes me more than a little grouchy, hopeless and defeated. What's more, it makes me think I'm just plain no good. What's wrong with me, anyway? Get a grip, girl!


A few weeks before my best friend moved, I went over to help her stage her home for pictures. It was the night before and I was there to do whatever she needed me to do. She pointed me in the direction of several baskets of laundry and I set to work folding it all.

{Something you need to know about this friend is that she is, in my mind, an exceptional housekeeper. Her house is CLEAN - and she has 5 kids. It's just her thing and it's cool and I've always admired her for it. It's also one of the ways we are very different.}

I'm sorting her laundry to fold and I found myself downright thrilled to find that she had - rags. Tired dishcloths turned cleaning supplies - the type that everyone has, right? But because I mostly see her home when it's cleaned up and ready for guests and not in the prepping stage - for some reason it surprised me to see them. Surprised and delighted me because while I stood in her bedroom sorting laundry, I realized that this is doing life.

When you do real life with someone - you find out everyone has rags. In some way, shape or form. We all do.

When you do real life - you can lay down your arms, come right up close and say me, too.

"I had a bad day/week/month." Me, too.

"I struggle with guilt about my parenting." Me, too.

"I feel lazy/lonely/sad/wrung out." Me, too.

"I really really really don't want to make dinner." Me, too.

"My house is a mess." Oh, you know it - me, too.

You know I've got a big pile of rags under the sink in the downstairs bathroom. The tired dishcloth kind, the retired prefold diaper kind. The kind you don't show company and the kind we all pretend we don't have - until we need to get down to the real work of real life and whip this mess into shape. Unless we aren't ready, and then maybe we just sit and drink coffee and let the kids go make messes. Because that's the real work of real life, too.

We all have rags, but we all have riches, too. The things we love and do and are that make us unique and amazing. It's real life to have a lovely clean house because that's your thing. It's real life to knit and bake bread and practice braiding your daughter's hair in that cool way you found on Pinterest. It's real life to run that marathon after having a handful of kids because it makes you feel good.

Real life isn't just about embracing a mess. It's about celebrating all of it, rooting for each other, being honest and open and full of life. Because life goes fast, and there's really no time to waste on feeling closed off and alone, peering through the cracks in our walls at each other and thinking we see the whole picture.

Let's do {real} life together. Let's band together and be there for each other, through thick and thin, good days and bad. I don't know about you, but that's what real life looks like over here. And that's what I'm looking for in my relationships.

There's just one weekday left and I'm determined to make it a good one. But if it's not? That's how life goes.

I know you get it.

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