On any given night of the week there is very little variation on this scene…The dogs are barking, the kids are arguing, the dishes are precariously piled in the sink, laundry is strewn on a bed waiting to be folded and my head is spinning like that of Linda Blair’s in the Exorcist. The mess, the noise level and the utter chaos becomes deafening. And yet my husband, who could very well sit on a couch covered in newspapers, with half eaten bowls of ice cream melting at a rapid pace, seems impervious to the roar of children yelling and the weight of so much housework yet to be completed.
I wonder if he is truly unaware of his surroundings- or like so many men- simply chooses to ignore what is not completely essential to his being. If he needs a dish- rather than spend the time putting the dirty ones in the dishwasher he is fine with taking one off the stack- superficially rinsing it off and proceeding to eat on it. And while the kids are literally pulling eachother’s hair, squeezing the life out of one another and chasing each other around the dining room table, he can sit , and solemnlyÂ clean his plate without a mere glance in their direction.
I used to abhor his response to our family’s chaos; how could he, upon seeing all those dirty dishes piled in the sink, not roll up his sleeves and load the dishwasher? When our kids are screaming bloody murder at one another- how could he not step in and force them to confront the root of the problem and work to find a solution? How could he see toys scattered every which way and not get on his hands and knees and start clearing them away? But now; eleven years after having birthed our daughter from my swollen pregnant belly- well I just ENVY him!
The truth is– chaos is part of the patchwork of raising a family- it’s messy, complicated and if you spend all your energy sweating the crumbs and dirty dishes, you’ll end up missing those wonderful precious moments in between the insanity. His ability to be present in the moments that really matter; like when he sits and listens to my daughter read her book to him aloud- every last fiber of his being is invested in her every word. Sure I’d like him to be a bit more mindful of the potato chips on the floor ( perhaps pick them up) as opposed to crunching them beneath his soles but I’ll take what I can get, a man who understands the value of time.