My garden is a lot like my soul. It’s a mess. There’s a lot of great stuff, but it’s chaotic and all over the place. It’s filled with far too many weeds and it’s overwhelming at times. But sometimes, when I least expect it. I find what I’m looking for.
I have no table knives in my kitchen. Actually, I have 4 of them. I have acquired 5 sets of silverware from estate sales, relatives, and garage sales. My goal in life sometimes, is to have matching tableware. However, my knives are missing. Maybe they’ve all been “accidentally” thrown away.
I was digging in the garden today, and I found a missing knife. It was thrilling. Sometimes, it drives me crazy when half my tableware is missing. If it were made of solid gold or real silver, I would suspect thieves. I suspect the kids dig with them in the yard, and leave them out there.
I brought the knife inside, and when I looked around my house was a mess. It was clean when I went out the back door to go pull weeds, and when I got inside there were puzzles and games all over the floor. There were books, boots, jackets, pencils, balls, jump-ropes, milk, cereal, hot dog buns, bread, etc…all over the house. This was done by my three elementary age children. My husband and oldest child went out to get a hair cut (I prefer to give the haircuts, but that’s another story).
Kids make messes. That’s what they do. It is my job as a parent to teach my kids to clean up after themselves. They will one day leave my house, and I don’t want them to get into the habit of being pigs, and making messes for other people to clean up. It’s rude and indecent. So I told them all firmly, that they needed to clean up the mess. Two of them cleaned up the mess happily, with no complaint.
The other kid didn’t want to. He refused. So I yelled at him and told him that he, “most certainly will”, clean everything up. I walked him through what he needed to do. I stood there quite firmly and made sure that he put the milk and cereal away and put the dishes in the sink. I made sure that he cleaned up the mess that he made. He was mad. He was irate and furious, but he did it anyway because I made him.
A half hour later when my husband and older son came home, large clumps of toothpaste were discovered all over the toilet seat. My husband put the guilty child on the spot and asked him why he did that.
My little boy frowned, folded his arms and wouldn’t speak. So I said, “He did this because he was mad at me and wanted to get revenge. By spreading toothpaste on the toilet seat he’s telling me that I can yell at him and make him clean up a big mess, but he can get even and make a bigger mess in the bathroom. It’s an act of vengeance. He did it to get even.” The little boy turned his head and wiggled. He was surprised that I really could read his mind, after all. “Am I right?” I said. He smiled.
“Do you know how I know this?” I asked him. “When I was a little girl I did the same thing to my mother when I was mad at her. Once, I ripped up her birthday card.” I said. The little boy smiled big and my other kids laughed. “Really?” he said. “Oh yeah. I was a bad girl. I tell you what. I see that your mad. I see that you needed to show me how you feel. So I’m going to clean this mess up, and we’ll call it even.” He smiled and he was no longer mad at me. In fact, he wasn’t mad at me for the rest of the day. He was dancing around the house singing “We’re even! We’re even!” I have never seen anyone happier.
I made my little boy clean up the first mess, because he needs to learn to clean up after himself. Sure, he made the second mess, and he should have cleaned that one up too. I didn’t make him clean up the second mess of vengeance because he made the mess to prove a point. If I made him clean it up, he would have been mad at me all day. Now he isn’t mad at me. I don’t want fighting in my house.
Even though I don’t want any fighting in my house, it happens. My husband and I don’t fight, but the children bicker a lot. They have to constantly correct each other. It’s annoying with four of them. They need to learn to just let things go for the sake of harmony in the household. Some things, are just not important enough to fight over.
My garden is a lot like my life. It needs a lot of work. Sometimes I feel that when my garden is perfect and beautiful, I’ll know that its a sign that my life is too.