A Pair of Jeans, A Clothes Line, and A Moment of Nostalgia, by Barbara J. Robinson

Yesterday I spent about three hours cleaning house, but by the time my husband got home at six, you couldn’t tell. Dinner preparations were strewn across the kitchen, school books and assignments in the sitting area. Mail both my husband and our daughter had sifted through was scattered across the kitchen island, coats and gloves were draped over chairs, and shoes piled in numerous locations. After school snack crumbs covered multiple surface areas–not just in the kitchen. Markers, scissors and yarn were left in numerous places like bread crumbs documenting the movements of our creative daughter as she fluttered through the house.

Sitting down to dinner in our once clean-now-cluttered home, I had to laugh. My tidy house had been family-ized!

As a mom, today’s post was a breath of fresh air. My house is normally sanitary, yet it is rarely clean. But you know, that isn’t such a bad thing. I’d trade my daughter’s giggles and my husband’s hugs for an immaculate kitchen any day!

Today’s devo, written by B. J. Robinson, first appeared on USADeepSouth.com. It has been reposted on her personal blog, http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com, and A Woman’s Voice.

*                            *                                *

Scotty’s Jeans

I jumped out of bed early every morning with the spirit, energy, and vitality of youth, cleaned house, and took care of the family duties. Far too busy to treasure the day with a son in the first grade, I took pride in the fact that I kept a spotless home and had dinner on the table when my husband returned from work.

I hung Scotty’s small jeans outside in the sunshine and fresh air. I can still see them blowing in the wind, hung neatly, all in a row, jeans of every color: brown, black, green, navy, maroon, and blue. I took pride in the fact that he had a pair of jeans in each color for school.

Before I knew it, my son grew, left home, married, had children of his own,  and made me a grandmother multiple times. Those precious family days were a treasure that didn’t last. All too soon, spring turned to summer, summer to fall, and fall to winter. What I wouldn’t give to hang those precious little jeans on the line and watch them blow.

I no longer clean house like it’s the most important thing in my life. What I once took pride in is dull, boring, and humdrum–just another ordinary, routine day. Now, there are no small jeans blowing in the wind. No first grader rushes home to excitedly tell me about his school day. Those are all things of the past, things that didn’t last.

Now, my little grandson’s mother throws his jeans in the dryer as she rushes to get ready for work. The hands of time slip by like a silent thief in the night, as precious days fly with the speed of lightning. Off to work. Off to school. Years fly. Days of the past, treasured days,  just don’t last, but precious memories do.

 

First printed in USADeepSouth.com as Colored Jeans on the Clothesline: Such Precious Days Don’t Last. Permission given to reprint revised edition.

B. J. Robinson lives in Florida with her husband, Cocker Spaniel, Sunflower, and an adopted shelter cat named Frankie. She’s a graduate of the Christian Writers Guild (CWG), Longridge Writers Institute, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and CWG. Visit her at http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com.

*                          *                            *

For all my overtired parents out there, watching your teen come into the house like a cyclone can be a bit frustrating, but sending them off to college with suitcase in hand is even harder. Teach them to be tidy and respectful of your time, yes, but do it with a hug and a smile, because it won’t be long before those hugs are few and far between.

As as always, if you loved today’s devo and want to see it in my top three of 2010, “like” it, fb share it, tweet it or leave a comment.

 

Looking for the Treasure Hidden in the Mundane

Last week our house felt like a sauna. No, maybe sauna is too mild of a term. I think it’d be more accurate to liken it  to a lava bath on Venus. After two weeks of no air conditioning, (luckily we were on vacation for one of those), our home had gone from mildly uncomfortable to nauseatingly unbearable. Seriously. By Friday afternoon, with our thermostat reading ninety-three and climbing, our bodies began to revolt.

It’d been a rough week for all of us. The evenings were the worst. At bedtime, with the outside temperature barely dipping below ninety, there was no way to cool our house no matter how many fans you got going or windows you opened. Needless to say, the Slattery household was anything but cheery come Friday morning. Although we did have one thing going for us…the air conditioning guys were installing our new unit that day. Woo-hoo! Unfortunately, that meant Ashley and I had to stick around, in a hot, sticky house while they did it. And after a week’s worth of sweaty, itchy, crabby, sleepless nights, I was expecting fireworks. Or at least a few angry tears.

I was not anticipating any “precious-memory making moments” that day. In fact, I think I would have been happy just to get through the day without either one of us losing it entirely. And yet, despite the heat (or perhaps because of it) and lack of sleep, my daughter and I had the silliest, giggliest day we’ve had in quite a long time.

It started with time.

Despite a 92,000 word document desperately needing to be edited and numerous impeding deadlines, I shut my computer down and put it aside, along with anything else that required movement. (minus the occasional fb pop-in) And my daughter, too tired and hot to play outside or hide out in her room, hung out with me.

The giggles were initiated by dog-vomit

So here we were, dying, wishing we could head to Sonic for an ice-cold Cherry Limeaid when our mop-top started spewing nasty green stuff out of her mouth. So I picked her up and ran to the door, sending globs of bile shooting across the sofa, onto my daughter and leaving a trail from the den to the back yard. This quickly sent both of us into a fit of giggles and an afternoon of silliness–chasing dogs down with ice-cubes, Ashley sprawled across the wood floor in an effort to stay cool, us making goofy faces at each other. At the end of the day, a moment of discomfort led to some very special times between me and my baby-girl. And as I think back over our time, I can’t help but wonder how things might have been if one of us, just one of us, had reacted differently. What if I had thrown a fit when our dog started spraying our furniture with vomit? What if my daughter had lashed out when the vomit smacked her in the face? What if, after a day of roasting,  her giggles had become “annoying” or my jokes “lame”?

An entire day worth of special, long-to be treasured moments would have been lost.

It makes me wonder how many other moments I’ve missed. On those days when I’ve allowed circumstances to control me instead of looking for the silly, ironic or down-right absurd. I think God has many blessings hidden among our day, if we’d but look past ourselves and our momentary circumstances. In fact, I wonder if even those seemingly terrible situations can be turned into our greatest sources of joy.

One of my favorite verses says: “Every wise woman builds her house but the foolish one tears it down.” (Proverbs 14:1)

Unfortunately, I spend way too much time tearing down. Getting frustrated, distracted, upset, whatever. And yet, it is just as easy to build up, with joy, giggles, words of encouragement and focused time. Air conditioning or not.