See, here's the deal. About 4.2 percent of the time, my house is quite tidy. I can relax, knowing that most things are squirreled away in their proper places, lending precious little clutter to both vision and soul.
You can figure out the other 95.8 percent.
About 50 percent of THAT time, I walk around either figuratively literally clutching the brow and thinking WHEN ARE THESE KIDS GOING TO LEARN TO PICK UP AFTER THEMSELVES??? (I'm not completely falling down on life skills. My nine year old does his own laundry. But still.)
The other 50 percent only happens because of nine years of chipping away at the marble block of my perfectionism.
Here's what I found when I wandered through last night, detritus from my youngest child alone. (Oh, and the camera had barely any room, cluttered as it was by my eldest's delightful Lego Star Wars stop-motion movies, each involving about 300 photos.) Sorry about the evening-esque photo quality.
This is a drawing of a bat in a cave, which she hopped up from the dinner table to make during her sister's report on caves from her co-op class.
A self-portrait, perhaps?
This is some "cursive writing" she did using a chicken feather as a quill pen and watered-down tempera paint as ink.
A flag. See the pipe cleaner flagpole sticking out the bottom?
Oh, here's a note she wrote to her friend Rev, telling him how much she enjoyed his birthday party. With a matching envelope (hence the staples).
A 3D rosebush.
Her sailboat. Waiting for a pond outing with Daddy.
A pouch, made completely on her own by sewing up the sides with needle and thread, then evidently presented with great fanfare to the grateful carpet.
Dunno. Strip of fabric nicely pinned up the sides.
A family portrait.
Hmm. Found this in a corner of the kitchen. It's heart-shaped, it's spotted ... oh! I know! This is the remote control to the television she made by taping a crayoned picture to an empty cardboard box. Then she and Eliza spent Quiet Time channel surfing. Kids these days. It's all about the screen. No creativity whatsoever.
A length of "ribbon chain" and the chicken feather quill pen, found under the table.
A bundle of chicken feathers, culled from the yard and tied together with a series of knots that might make a sailor quiver with envy.
These bits of this and that serve as evidence -- evidence of young life sprouting and flourishing around here, with all it really needs to thrive. And when these signs of life rub me the wrong way, I consider the alternative.
I'll take the clutter.