Past, Present, and Future

I thought, for variety’s sake, I’d write about something that didn’t have to do with bodily waste today. Huh. If I could go back in time four or five years and tell myself that I’d ever need to write that sentence, Past Me would laugh Future Me back into, well, the future.

I can’t claim the simile, and neither do I know its origin (aside from truth), but it’s been said that trying to clean the house with a pre-schooler in it is like raking leaves in a hurricane. Any visitor to our house can verify that very little cleaning is happening. What’s interesting to me is how OK I am with living in a condition that Past Me would have found quite alarming. Don’t get me wrong, Past Me was a slob. But he could be a fairly tidy slob. I don’t know how those two things work together, but Past Me made it work.

The floor beneath my dinner table is covered in shredded cheese. This is not new. It was true yesterday and, most likely, it will be true tomorrow. I have hopes for the weekend, but they’re not especially high. The dishes are clean, at least most of them, and only because I hate for food to sit out. Joshua’s room is one of the cleanest in the house, but this is mostly because he basically only sleeps there and nothing more. This is the most offensive to Past Me. Past Me was adamant that Future Me’s (Future My?) children’s playthings would be contained within their rooms. Every now and then I get an itch and try to return Joshua’s playthings to the Toys-R-Us passing itself off as his closet, but it’s been a while.

Jack’s room, similarly, is fairly tidy. His accoutrements are basically a bunch of burp cloths, books he doesn’t care about, and a rattle whose very existence he forgets when it leaves his sight. Then again, the existence of Mom and Dad is transient, too, so I guess the rattle is in good company. That was one of my favorite concepts when Joshua was little. Jen and I were like demi-gods, popping into and out of existence to meet his needs and, frankly, to judge him for pooping in his PJs. Again. And here I said I wouldn’t write about bodily waste. Well crap.

Anyway, our little inflatable pool in the front yard is full of water. That’s not from rain or snowmelt. It’s full from when we filled it up in August. At this point, I’m hoping the water in it will freeze, pop the sides of the pool, and take care of the work of draining it when the weather warms up.

The thing is, we don’t want to live this way. Both Jen and I (read: just Jen) were clean, organized people before we had kids. And in time, we will again be clean, organized people. But with kids! I know there are successful parents who keep clean houses, clean cars, who eat meals at regular times, and take beautiful family photos at Christmas. Good for them. At the end of the day, I go to bed without having drowned our children in the lake, intentionally or not. I claim victories where I find them. They’d be easier to find in a clean house, I guess.

That’s ok. Future Me will get to it tomorrow.

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