Embrace the Mess, Brave Girl

I hate messes. I avoid them if at all possible.

I like to walk on the beach, but I have a process for doing so because I don’t like wet sand that gets on clothes and between toes and then into a car that then needs to be vacuumed.

I am not a great cook, but no matter what I do in the kitchen I wash my hands obsessively and clean up as I go because sticky fingers leave sticky spots on faucets and counters and handles.

I embrace craft and slime projects, but keep stacks of boxes and cardboard and old towels to put on any surface that could potentially get glue or glitter or paint or detergent on it.

I guess it’s probably more accurate to say that I do my best to proactively manage messes carefully.

Today, I am waaaaaaaaay outside my comfort zone, embracing a mess that I willingly purchased. The girls picked a new Christmas tree this weekend and it’s one that looks like it’s covered in snow. If you are looking at the tree in just the right way and zoning out a bit, that beautiful snow against the lights can fill you with a serene feeling…until you start to notice that the snow that covers the branches is like beet juice that destroys all the other food on your Sunday dinner plate. That snow has gotten on the floor, which then got onto socks and onto paws, and then travelled throughout the whole house.

I have fake snow everywhere.

And just as I was seriously considering a complex narrative about why the tree won’t work for our house, I overheard an exchange that melted my heart. Audrey wanted to play outside and as I was standing on a ladder grumbling to myself about the snowy mess falling all over the place, I heard her ask her grandpa if he would take her outside. My first thought was I would need to take a break and take her out – it’s Sunday, one of Papa’s favorite days because it’s filled with sports. But before I could take one step down, I heard him say “Let me turn off football and we’ll go.”

My girls are so blessed to be surrounded by people who will bend over backwards to prioritize them and who will embrace mess for them. Family and friends and helpers who I’ve watched time and time again drop everything to put a smile on their faces or to help me help them navigate something.

The thing about divorce is that so many people are impacted. It’s not just the spouses and children. It’s the parents and siblings and friends and coworkers. It’s not just my girls who have spent the last year reeling from discoveries and facing a new norm – many of the people that the girls rely on for love and comfort and consistency and care have also been hurt deeply. The thing that makes me the second angriest about the selfishness that led to where we are today is thinking about all the tears shed by our parents and family, and my beloved friends.

Recently someone asked me if I was going to have a divorce party, and I realized that I will never be friends with that person again. That person and I have absolutely nothing in common. Because anyone who can think about divorce as funny or freedom or positive when innocent children were impacted is not a person I can in any way relate to or even want to relate to. Divorce, even without children, is a tragedy. But in a divorce impacting children, the thing a good person would think about and focus on is the children.

Hillary Clinton famously noted that it takes a village to raise kids. The village surrounding my girls is pretty fantastic. Truly wonderful people who are watchful of them and who just love on them and are present for them. People who recognize I might want to privately have a glass of champagne, but who would always be respectful and private about that because of my girls. Good humans. I appreciate them more than I can ever convey. And I learn from them all the time.

It’s a fair statement that I am more-than-a-little obsessive compulsive and attached to order and neatness. And it’s also a fair statement that even at 45 years old – supposedly a real grown-up – I am still learning from my parents and my village.

Which is precisely why I am embracing the fake snow that is literally everywhere.

Mimicking Papa, let me just turn off my OCD and I’ll love it.

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