This is what you might see if you were to pull up to my house.
To you it may look like trash, but to me it is a treasure – well sort of. 😉
We live in a cute, quiet little neighborhood with a bunch of regular little houses occupied mostly by older people who have long ago raised children and even grandchildren; some now even have great-grandchildren. Their homes are always neat and clean. Their lawns are always immaculate and landscaped precisely. Even those with wild flower gardens have neat wild flower gardens.
And then there is our house.
The grass is always a little overgrown. Actually, that’s a lie. The weeds that we like to pretend are grass are always a little overgrown. The flower beds (I just put some in!) always need weeding and more wood chips and straightened borders. The driveway always needs to be swept. The garbage cans always need to be placed more neatly rather than just thrown haphazardly to the side. The kids’ toys need to be cleaned up and hidden back in the garage.
Our house definitely stands out in, and not necessarily in a good way, in our neat and trim neighborhood.
And so when I pulled up to the house and my headlights shone on this scene yesterday. I groaned. This is NOT how I had left our house not so long ago. What had happened???
The stroller I’d wiped down and hoped to consign or donate had lost its wheels and held up Kaleb’s little plastic trike. There was a plastic flower pot I remembered but hadn’t seen in years poking out from behind our recycling bin. The recycling bin’s lid was bent at an odd angle. Next to that was our big garbage can with a little garbage can we use for gathering weeds (or would if we ever had time to weed!) on top of it. Resting across the entire thing was an old wooden picture frame stand capable of holding 12 8×10 photos.
I couldn’t imagine what the neighbors would think!
I sat in the car shaking my head with a little grin on my face. I’d long since learned to wait for the story before accusing my boys of making a mess, and I wouldn’t have to wait long for this one.
As usually happens, quickly after pulling in the drive, before I could even get my windows rolled up, the front door opened and the three younger guys came piling out of the house running toward the car.
I wondered again how I could ask them to clean their room or put away their laundry 50 times a day without them hearing me when I swear they hear my car as soon as I turn into our neighborhood.
I finished closing the windows and slowly pushed open my car door, careful not to hit the little bodies pressed up against it, still not having learned that if they want me out of the car, they can’t lean against the door.
The boys backed away and gathered me in a group hug.
See what we did mom?
It was said in a happy little chorus of voices. I kissed their little heads, hugged them, and looked up in time to see my less enthusiastic greeters, my older suave but still grinning oldest sons exiting the house. All five were somewhere between the car and the front door. Between us was the mess in front of the garage door.
You mean that? I asked pointing to the garage.
Uh-huh! my younger ones answered while the older ones looked on with silent, amused pride.
Uh-huh, I answered cautiously.
The story came out in laughing pieces each kid interrupting the previous kid to excitedly and proudly tell me the story.
Mom while you were gone.
We played soccer.
All of us.
And the garage door was the goal.
They must have seen my eyebrows shoot up.
But we didn’t want to break the glass
This was said quickly as they read my mind.
So we decided to only use the bottom half of the garage door as the goal.
And then to make really sure we didn’t break anything.
We just piled stuff up in front of it.
Wasn’t that smart?
Isn’t that great?
It looks cool doesn’t it mom?
Uh-huh, I answered.
It was smart, great, and cool – in a way.
And so, if you drive down a street and see a house that looks a bit messy or unkempt, it might just be ours; it may not look as good as the other houses on the street, but it may be filled with a bunch of the best, most resourceful, most thoughtful, and funniest boys in the world.
Boys who can play soccer together despite a range of ages. Boys who look out for one another. Boys who make me shake my head and make me laugh and cringe – often at the same time.
Boys I Love 100%
And, although I apologize to our neighbors, I’d take that beautiful mess with these five boys over a neat house and yard any day!