Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Beautiful Mess

I'm getting tired of my hair. It desperately needs to be cut, but when do mamas have time for such things? So I toss it into a ponytail. Again. And we race out the door to get the kids to their swim lessons.

When they're finally splashing and stroking and bobbing, I plop into a chair and enjoy the thirty minutes of just sitting. I pull out a book and slowly digest a chapter, looking up often enough to give dozens of thumbs-ups and a-okays and air claps. With a very wide grin. Because that's what mamas do.

The thirty minutes go by too quickly, and I tuck the book back into my purse. As I prep towels for little bodies, I hear a voice behind me and turn to see an aging gentleman shuffling my way. He points and comments, "I was sitting behind you. You have such beautiful hair!"

Stunned, I thank him. Beautiful? It's too long. I haven't done anything but toss it carelessly back to get it out of the way. I'm relieved that I finally made an appointment for Friday to tame the unruly mess.

And he calls it beautiful.

It causes me to ask the obvious of myself. How often do I fail to see the beauty and instead call it a frustrating mess?

When Aidan asks to serve the cream of wheat and it glops all over the counter, I cringe at the mess. But isn't it really a beautiful moment? This child wanting to be independent and helpful?

When Miss Kate marches into the room all ready for the day in striped socks, a plaid skirt, a floral top and feather boa, do I see chaos? (Yes!)

But it's beautiful. She's being creative and colorful and vibrant. It's who she is. And that healthy expression of self is beautiful.

When Drew practices away at the drums with music blaring and siblings vocalizing, there's plenty of discord and the beats don't always land right where they should.

But it's beautiful. He's learning to do something he's passionate about and inviting his brother and sisters along for the ride. The mess is answered prayer, really. It's a purpose and a passion and a pursuit. Which is exactly what a thirteen-year-old needs.

Bethie scribbles away at a script and there are princes and princesses and gypsies and dungeons. (Yes, she's been reading Little Women.) The costumes collect, her mind is distracted and she would much rather memorize her lines than focus on her math. It doesn't fit with my schedule for the morning. It's not on the checklist.

But it's beautiful. Her mind is coming alive with characters and settings and she can't wait to perform it for Thanksgiving and, well, she reminds me a lot of myself.

Puddles drip around wiggly pruned feet. I wrap the children in their towels. They can't stand still and they ask if I saw them jump in the six feet and if I saw the way they kicked and dove and splashed. And I know they weren't perfect and that they have a long way to go. But I say, "Yes! You were great!" Because they were great. They were beautiful.

We head toward the showers. The man shuffles away. And I, too, feel beautiful.
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