Part One: Downstairs
Cheerios litter the floor. Dinner dishes fill the kitchen sink. The normal stash of handy baby food has dwindled to pumpkin, apples, and bananas. The bread is almost gone. Mail sits on the counter. Towels sit in the dryer.
Part Two: Upstairs
Toys are scattered across the living room floor. A trash bag full of diapers sits in the hallway. Four giant loads of laundry take up a chunk of my bedroom, waiting to be folded. Bedsheets and my bedspread command another chunk of the floor, crying out for me to clean the poop that Noah leaked from his diaper onto them.
Part Three: The People
Noah is sleeping soundly in his crib. We know this won't last for long, however, as he is sick again. Instead, we sense a wakeful and trying night ahead of us. Tyler sits on the couch, plowing through War and Peace, trying to finish it for his class tomorrow. And where was I in this glorious mess?
Sitting on the couch. Wasting time on Pinterest. Telling myself that I need to get up and do something about about my ridiculously long to-do list. The more I wait, the longer the list gets. The longer the list gets, the greater my aversion to taking care of it. The greater the stress. The closer the tears come.
I'm terrible at dismissing my emotions, and even worse at hiding them from Tyler. So of course, it all came out. Tyler put his book aside and lovingly held me while the tears fell.
I think I mentioned Tyler's talent for making me laugh when I'm upset before. This night was no exception. About halfway through our conversation, I was still crying.
Tyler: What's the matter?"
Me: I already told you. All this stuff I have to do is the matter. And me. I'm the matter.
Tyler: No, you're not the matter. You're the subject.
Me: That doesn't even make any sense. Matter and subject are the same thing.
Tyler: No they're not! You are the subject, and we've already talked about the matter. So it's gone. Poof! No more matter!
He's done it. I'm laughing uncontrollably. This makes Tyler laugh uncontrollably. It feels good. When we're done laughing, Tyler says, "There will always be stuff on your to-do list. You will never be "done." So don't stress about it."
He's right. For the record, I did get the poopy bedclothes washed, and that was enough. I went to bed happily, my endless to-do list virtually untouched. Twenty minutes later, I got out of bed to soothe a stuffy-nosed Noah back to sleep. It was the beginning of a fairly restless night for all of us. Finally, I ended up sleeping with Noah on the couch, and it was enough. The list didn't matter so much any more.
One last quote from that husband of mine: "Dishes don't last forever. Hugs and kisses do." Silly, yes. But true.
Sometimes you just need to let the hugs and kisses be enough.