My house is a mess. The walls are stained, the carpet is scattered with debris, and the windows are obscured by crayon. Dust clings. Toys creep out of their boxes daily and spread throughout the house like fungous. Blankets and pillows lie twisted upon a bed that refuses to be made.
We struggle against it, of course, my wife and I. We are stoic Canutes, willing the tide of filth away, to little effect. We dust and hoover and wipe and scrape, though we never reach the heady heights of being able to polish. Every day it forces its way back on us, the disorder and the chaos, caused by the two tornadoes - one medium, one small - that whirl from room to room. We sigh, we fight, we sweat, we fail.
I see the crayon that runs from wall to wall in the bathroom, and remember my children narrating stories of great importance to themselves, and therefore to me. I see the coffee stains slipping behind the radiator, and remember a little shocked face, my harsh words, and the reconciliation of a tiny hug from a fragile body. I see the black rings that spread across the carpet from wall to wall and remember the unruly mealtimes when they just wouldn’t sit down – such a contrast to their increasingly mature behaviour, as their childhood changes in aspect daily. Each mess is a reminder. Each etched pen mark is an exploration. Each moment is a moment passed.
I miss my children daily, each and every one, the ones that leave every day to be replaced by a new one, so similar, and yet different. I resent the fact that I must work, and be away from their smiles and cries and life.
I would clean up after them for eternity, if I could.
I love my messy house, and I love them.