"C" Is For Chaos
I couldn’t agree more with the Holderness family that I, too, like big buses, and I cannot lie. Similar to a newly sharpened bouquet of pencils,* yellow buses, paper supplies, teacher’s gifts, lunchbox memos, and first day of school pictures on the front porch signal the beginning of a new school year. This annual autumnal signal rings in ritual, routine, and holy restoration. Restoration of the all that is holy includes but is not limited to: an early bedtime, waking up to a scheduled alarm, an end to happenstance teeth brushing and vitamin taking, wearing clothes other than swimsuits and pajamas, a modicum of media restriction, and time in the house to complete all the adult tasks that were put on hold for the 11 weeks that were summer vacation. And while the school year also brings homework, evening soccer practices, PTA meetings, teacher conferences and likely the flu – or at minimum, the flu shot, I relish this upcoming season wherein order, predictability, and consistency are the norm, not the exception.
This summer has been full of adventure and activity unlike any other time of the year. But with whimsy comes chaos. Our van has collected souvenirs from eating on the go, time spent on sandy beaches, garage sale steals, slumber parties, pool trips, and even blueberry picking. Those mementos are simply relics of what made it inside the house: Starbucks cups, DVDs and CDs (they were only $1 each after all), sleeping bags, wet towels and swimsuits, and pounds of fresh produce on the kitchen countertops. This kind of clutter and haphazard placing of random items throughout the living room, dining room and bedrooms elicits a form of crazy not typically found in my mood repertoire the rest of the year.
In an effort to be kind to myself, I disclaim that Karl and I both work from home (yes, even in the summer) in a 100 year-old house with two bedrooms and one bathroom. Workspace comes at a high premium and when it is otherwise occupied by Peter’s seashell collection or Lucy’s latest craft creations, my frustration inevitably ensues. I like order. I like rituals because they offer predictability. I like routines because they offer consistency. And while I appreciate that whimsy, surprise, mystery and adventure are fostered in the non-ritualistic and non-routineness of summertime, I find that I can tolerate only so much magic – about 10 weeks, in fact, instead of the 11 that the school year affords.
So, I am not ashamed to admit that when I get back to the house after I drop my kids off for their first day of school, I will excitedly begin reordering my home. Deep cleaning will ensue. The labeler will get a new set of batteries and tape. Books will be alphabetized. Storage bins will be stacked. All surfaces will be free of clutter.
And on day two…
*Props to those of you who can identify this line from my favorite movie!