Community//

The Messes They Leave

A Mother's Day Story

An office tucked behind a third floor bedroom converted from attic space offers a quiet reprieve from the otherwise clamorous sounds of a bustling home. I glance at the bookshelf where my eyes fixate on an old pewter model biplane with fractured parts resting beside it. The brothers had been forewarned on numerous occasions of the nature of the pewter collection not being for entertainment purposes, yet they succumbed to the temptation of flight simulation.  And now, after nearly a century of sitting in my grandfather’s office, the model was no longer able to survive the inherent perils of young boys’ imaginations.  I suppose it could be welded back together, although, maybe this was the fate it was meant to have.  After all, it is only a model, a heavy one at that, and it’s only hope of ever flying was in the hands of dreaming, wonder eyed, boys.

The kitchen is a communal area cluttered with remnants of the daily activity and a trail of crumbs underneath the table assures you of finding your way home.  One brother has been anointed the nick name, “The Dumper”.  This is from the ritual of baskets or plastic bins deliberately being “dumped” on the floor in a quest to find the one coveted toy. The clangorous sound of metal matchbox cars has a unique tonality that resonates throughout the house.  The countertops provide an exhibition area for art work and school accolades.  There is a junk draw in the desk area overflowing with an assortment of trinkets collected from birthday party goodie bags to include super balls, stickers, plastic parachute men that can be thrown off the staircase, and my personal favorite, ear piercing, high pitched whistles.

These charms are scattered into inconspicuous areas that offer amusing experiences such as slipping on super balls while in route to pour a cup of morning coffee, the sharp edge of a matchbox car best experienced bare foot while carrying a hot casserole dish to the dinner table, or the imprint left from a stray lego.  These euphoric moments inspire internally thought expletives as an endearing glance of love is projected toward the culprit.   

There are often socks strewn across the floor, usually soiled with dirt from some sporting event or a back yard activity such as “Water Day”.  The other night I glanced upward only to find one hanging from the top of a ceiling fan.  I am sure if I look hard enough, there are many other unexplored galaxies that may offer similar hidden treasures. I gaze into the game room which is in disarray from the aftermath of a epic blues & rock concert held earlier this evening.  Where are the roadies?  Fingerprints adorn the molding around doorways and closets are best kept secret by keeping the doors shut.  The boys rooms are shrines for every artifact collected along the way to include rocks, shark teeth, necklaces, and other novelties.  One in particular caught my eyes in my older son’s room, displayed prominently on his bookshelf.  A baseball placed on top of a slinky with a hand written message facing out that said, “Good Luck In Your First Baseball Game – Love Dad”.

This morning as I made my way down the staircase, I found myself tangled in a spider webbed ball of black yarn that had been woven through the staircase spindles and railings.  It was almost as if I were doing the limbo as I worked my way through the maze.  

Oh, the messes you leave.  One day, you both will fly far from here.  No dirty socks to pick up, no fingerprints, no surprise toy landmines, no pillow fortresses, no chocolate fudge bar popsicle sticks stuck to the kitchen table, or empty cereal boxes in the pantry not discarded so that the inevitable fate of finding out you ate the whole box in two days is delayed.  Tomorrow is not far away.  Evening befalls and I rest my head on my pillow.  Wait, what is that?  A sock!

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