The First of November | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The First of November

Tonight after I finally got my children to settle down enough to get ready for bed, and then settle down enough to actually get IN bed, I walked through my living room.

It was pretty depressing, what I saw. (And if I were to get up out of this chair and walk out there again, it will still be depressing, since I didn't actually do anything about it.) Candy wrappers all over the place (worst part of Halloween), pieces of Harry Potter costumes strewn over furniture and radiators,backpacks and homework, blankets, jackets, pens and pencils, shoes and socks, and half-eaten candy (I take it back--that is definitely worse than wrappers) in every available corner of the room that was once clean as recently as this morning.

Oh, and music. There is sheet music littering the floor, piano and violin books thrown on the couch and two violins out of their cases, sitting on chairs.

Just as I was about to get all angry and curse Halloween and its candy and costumes and crazy children I took a couple of deep breaths and remembered how this evening actually went, and why my living room was looking so very....lived in.

I haven't been feeling very well lately (ear infection, head cold, general crud-that's-going around), so I went to lie down after dinner. Joel has orchestra rehearsal on Tuesday evenings, so he left pretty soon after that. Homework had been mostly finished before dinner, so I told the girls that as soon as it was done they could "sort" their Halloween candy. Which is really just a fancy way for them to eat it while I'm not looking. My bedroom is just off of the living room, so I could still "supervise" and "sleep" at the same time. (What, can't you do that?)

The girls had an absolute blast in there "sorting" candy. I listened to them laugh and talk and just be together. Pretty soon, Chloe started playing some songs on the piano, and then Sophia got out her violin and began to play her newly mastered Twinkles. Then Bria got her own violin out and started playing an Irish jig and a concerto or two, then joined in on the Twinkles with Sophia, while Chloe tried to plunk out the tune in the same key as the violins. Then Bria got bugged because Sophia's violin was a little flat and so she tuned it herself, but ended up popping the peg out of place and then Sophia freaked out and brought her violin to me to fix. I was by now on the phone with my own mother and got it mostly tuned while I talked and then handed it off to Bria to finish. Then they went back and made music together for a good hour or so.

When it was time to get ready for bed, I called them into my room and gave them orders to get PJs on and brush teeth and put away their candy stashes and everything else and then meet on my bed for prayers. It took a while, but they did, and then we sat on the bed while they sang songs to me for another half hour. We finally prayed and they finally disappeared upstairs to maybe fall asleep, if only all of the sugar they ingested tonight lets them.

And I got up to go to the kitchen and walked through the aftermath of HAPPY CHILDREN.

Music-making children.

How blessed I am.

(And now I will happily go clean it all up...)


  1. I love the reminder that the messes are really blessings in disguise - to remind us of what really matters in life.

    And that photo....incredible!

  2. Great post, gorgeous photo. :)

  3. My boss has a "Candy Buy Back" program with his kids. His kids can choose how much to sell but he'll pay 10 cents for chocolate and 5 cents each for other candies. It sorta pits one kind of kid greed against the other kind of kid greed! LOL! He says he is generally able to purchase most of the candy.

    That would be great except that he then brings his acquisitions to work to share!

    I have been dealing with candy wrappers too. I feel your pain.

  4. What a lovely change of perspective! I will try to remember this post this week...

  5. That music-making would have fun to hear!

  6. That photo made my heart hurt a little. My daughter used to leave her violin out of the case, but I had to control the urge to get mad because the important thing was that she was playing the violin. Now I haven't heard her play it for a long time and I'd give anything to hear her play it. (But it is nice when instruments get put away)

  7. I could picture the scene in my mind - and it is a beautiful picture.
    When we are young moms we stress about all we have to do and the messes but as you grow older - as the children grow older - you really appreciate those messes and the fun and sweet memories they represent!

    The fact that your daughters started playing music made me smile. I don't have any of my musicians living in the house anymore so I miss it - i really miss it. But I used to love when I was going about my daily work and all of a sudden the piano would start to play - Definately a beautiful gift!

  8. What a great way to look at the mess! I've got to learn to take that approach.

  9. I love this Lara. I really need to focus more on happiness, in many ways.

  10. Love that your kids are happy. We've got a similar situation at our house, with the mess and all. We spent a good hour this evening before dinner cleaning up the mess that has been here a week--mom couldn't take it anymore! The only thing I'd say to do different is to leave the mess and then let them clean it up tomorrow. But for children to truly be happy they need to be allowed to make those kind of messes. You're raising bright, talented and happy children, no doubt about it. Keep up the great work. Amanda B.

  11. You make me tear up! I love, love, love.