Daisy Days

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The cicadas have gotten so loud it seems unreal.  It will be strange when their songs fade.  A friend told me the story of a year when her dad used a snow shovel to move them off the sidewalk.  They aren’t that thick here, but then, we are surrounded by forest, and after the cool of the morning passes, they head for the trees.  This morning I was sitting on the back porch talking to my sister on the phone when Seth walked out with a grin on his face, opened his mouth, and a live cicada came tumbling out.  He howled with laughter.  Later, passing the computer, I saw on the screen a recipe for Cicadas with dumplings.  Unfortunately for Seth, the recipe wasn’t gluten free.  Keats mentioned a rhubarb and cicada pie.  I said, “No.”

I’ve been struggling just a bit to keep my head above water lately.  I’m tired of course, and there’s no catching up.  “Stop trying to catch up.  It’s silly.”  (I talk to myself.)  I’ve been tempted to succumb to stress.  It’s far better though to call my girls, head outside, and walk away.  We pick daisies.  Later, I put them on the counter, next to the dirty dishes.  The dishes get loaded after every meal, but somehow there are always still dishes in the sink.  It’s weird how that happens.

For me and for our particular family dynamic, trying to get on top of everything is like running in a hamster wheel.  I’m not a particularly bad housekeeper, and my older kids have plenty of chores, but the reality for our big homeschooling family, is that this life of ours is messy (maybe really messy.)  Most of the time I cope with that just fine, despite my history.  When I was a kid, I didn’t clean my room, I rearranged it.  It never got messy to begin with.  I alphabetized my books.  I craved order and cleanliness.  When Jonny and I were first married, we shared our two bedroom apartment with a friend of his, to save money on rent.  His friend, Jaime, was neat and tidy, and by all means, a great roommate.  However, at the time, I didn’t see it that way.  Next to our front door, there was a small table with a mirror hanging over it.  Jaime decided that he wanted to add a little decorative touch of his own there, a small print of a guy on a skateboard.  He tucked that little 5 x 7 into the base of the mirror.  I promptly removed it.  Next time I went to class, he put it back, and as soon as I returned, I pulled it out.  It became a silent war.  Jaime soon moved out.  He couldn’t tolerate my crazy, and I couldn’t tolerate what that little picture did to my sense of order.

Ha!  And now I have six kids, the seventh on the way, all in a little old messy house.  I sure didn’t see that coming, but God knows exactly what he’s doing with me.  I’m so glad for this life rather than the one I was planning.  My husband describes himself as a “free spirit.”  Rather than fight his nature, I usually just try to be a free spirit too.  Sometimes that’s very hard for me, but I’m happier this way as long as I let myself be.

Thank goodness for daisies.  And for knitting.  Oh, and perspective.   And the ability to set our own priorities.  And for kisses from my nearly two year old baby, to distract me from his great big messes.  And for little road trips, and surprise gifts in the mail.  For those rare days when the house is mostly clean, if only for five minutes.  For boys practicing the piano, and roses on the fence.

I don’t focus on the messes, because I don’t want to miss all the good parts.

Comments

  1. I needed this blig. At this moment. For the umptenth time, I let the crazy/controlling/contentious momma out of the cellar. She wreaked havoc and rather than appreciate beautiful messes caused by mischievious little people, there were tears and angry remarks. The little ones continued laughing at me until I had no choice but to laugh too. Thank you for sharing your beautiful messes too and making this momma happier.

  2. Same thing here. I used to be THE most organized person. Growing up, we lived in a pretty big house. It was my responsibility to clean my room, bathroom at least once a week. There were never dishes in the sink, we were required to clean them immediately. Everything was always spotless. As an adult, I lived like that for a long time, until I had kids (late in life). Then, one day, I just accepted that spotless didn’t matter. Living a full and sometimes very messy life is what mattered.
    Love your pictures, they are so wonderful. Have a beautiful day!

  3. I know exactly how you feel! Sometimes it’s like I am drowning in chores. I wish the day was 30 hours instead of 24, then I might have time to have a clean house. When you put your relationships ahead of cleanliness, dishes pile up, laundry doesn’t get done, but at least you have experienced connection.

    Your children won’t remember how clean your house was, but how much time you spent together.

  4. I can’t wait to get a dishwasher! I’m hoping that makes all the difference, I feel like I do dishes all day. We’ve decided on what one to get I just have to wait till we buy my husband a CPAP machine. I’m nearly 37 and it will be my first one! Your photos are so beautiful, I really like those first couple of the fence with the roses, so dreamy 🙂

  5. Hi there. Beautiful pictures and a beautiful post. I especially love the picture of the butterfly! I like how you turn to nature to distress and need to learn ways to distress in my life. I am able to go for a walk but live in the city so not as beautiful and not as woodsy shall we say… Take care and thank you again.

  6. You write so beautifully Ginny. The gratitude and grace you capture in your everyday is so inpiring. xx m.

  7. When I became mother I thought I have to have everything tidy and clean, because… why? Because that’s how my Mama told me. Because that’s how “people” say. But then my sister told me she felt like this too. And some nights went to bed crying that she hasn’t spent enough time with her kids because she kept the house clean… I am so happy that I don’t have to learn that lesson but let me teach by my older sister.

  8. It is so comforting and wonderful reading your blog. I hate messes too, and we have five kids that leave quite a wake behind them. Sometimes I find myself saying, “No” to the playdough and the games and forgetting that messes are around whatever you do, but memories are forever. Thanks for the reminder. Time to pick some daisies 🙂

    Nancy

  9. Ginny-
    Thank you again for your honesty! I too grew up as a VERY organized kid and could never go to sleep until my room was “just so”. I have one VERY active little boy (my blessing I didn’t think I would be able to have) with 2 BIG dogs now living in the country for the past 3 years with lots of dirt, bugs and outside animals. It has been a huge learning curve for me to just be ok that my house will never be completely clean and to revel in the fact my wonderfully creative 5 year old is going to have random buckets of dirt and worms and frogs on my front porch or jars of rocks in the kitchen for some idea. Not to stress when I am trying to get a little cleaning done and the belt on the vacuum decides to break so I have to look at a dirty rug a bit longer and to just enjoy my son in the season he is in because he just grows up tooo fast! Thank you for your wonderful photos and perspectives on life and motherhood!

  10. Rebekah says:

    I’m a mom of four in a very tiny house and there are days I have to convince myself that getting through our homeschool day is more important than how clean the house is. If people happen to stop by I just say sorry we’ve been having school and making memories, excuse the mess! I have also say thank you so much for sharing your beautiful family and life. There are days I come to your blog to escape, like a good book! Congrats on number seven! 🙂

  11. This whole post is the reason I come to your blog every single day. I just had the kind of day with my kiddos that drives one to tears. The dishes in your sink could have been mine. Your blog is always beautiful without being dispiriting, honest and hopeful. Thanks for offering these windows into your days. They make my day better.

    Keep picking daisies.

  12. AngelaK says:

    SOoooo happy I found you! Love it!

  13. Brigitte says:

    On the practical side, what do you do about ticks? Couldn’t help thinking of it when I see the kids in the tall grasses.

    I had my share of struggles with mess, especially since it troubled my husband more than me. Somehow it fades away and I just remember how great it was having the children home. Your house will be neat…. And too quiet….. Some day.

    • We have to check for ticks every night, even in the winter here. I’ve always lived in areas with ticks, so they’re just part of life–always have been since I was a kid so they don’t bother me.

  14. Caitlin says:

    Ahhhh I love your life, Ginny. You make me feel light and happy xx

  15. Most ESPECIALLY the knitting. Were you to walk into my house, I’m certain that you would realize how clean your own probably is. And I only have one…

  16. Linda S. from Canada says:

    I am the mother of nine and I am a Messie. My kids are now aged 23 to 10. Thank goodness about half of them are Cleanies and they keep things in order. It does get better as they get older. Especially when you’re done with diapers. But I wouldn’t trade all those messy years for anything. Having all your kids around you and living life together is wonderful. They do grow up and it does end. Enjoy every moment with them.

  17. Hi Ginny, Your last line resonated with me, too, but for a very different reason. I came home to find the large river rocks my landscaper used to keep the mulch from spilling. Rather than notice how beautiful it all looks, my thoughts were focused on how I wished my lot wasn’t sloped so I wouldn’t have to use the rock. Silly, crazy me.j If you haven’t read my friend Rachel’s blog, handsfreemama.com, I hope you’ll take a look when you have a moment. She writes exactly about this kind of thing. Love your blog!
    Sandra

  18. Ginny,
    I love this. And that last line is wonderful.
    Growing up, my room was always clean too. I like clean spaces. Jeff and Bracken teach me to let go of my tight hold on orderliness. It challenges me, but I’m seeking a better balance all the time.

    Love,
    Taryn

  19. this is soooo beautiful what you describe … and so true ….

    I’ll try to look at it in the same way, look over the mess, to focus on the ‘small things’ 🙂

    (especially tomorrow when my mother-in-law -always cleaning-everything tidy- is coming :):)

  20. Thanks so much for this today! I have 1 very busy homeschooled nature girl of my own but an additional 7 children in and out for day care in our home. Tomorrow is state inspection day and I get all worked up. ;0) Perspective is wonderful and I need to keep it in mind tonight and tomorrow! Its hard to remember when another person is coming in to view my home and what we do here.

  21. What a beautiful mess life as a mother is! With only two children, thus far, I’ve already given up my hope of total order. I love your beautiful pictures. This blog brings such joy to my day. Thank you!

  22. So beautiful my dear friend! I would love to hear Jonny’s point of view. Kevin is like your former self where I am more like Jonny and I can’t get Kevin to come around and embrace the mess. It adds so much stress to our marriage (then again my poor husband has OCPD so that doesn’t help!)

  23. Oh my goodness, Seth is so brave! I can’t believe he put that cicada in his MOUTH! I would say “NO” to rhubarb cicada pie too.

    I am totally the same way-I used to be a super organized kid and if somebody moved something in my room, I would put it back exactly how it was. Now I’m getting older and life makes everything messy and sometimes I just have to give up and let go and IT IS SO HARD. I am trying to be a free spirit too, but sometimes it feels like everything is just falling apart. Focusing on the small things (ha!) can really help.

    I hope things get easier and the dishes magically do themselves! 🙂

  24. Oh, I say the same thing all the time – that God sure knew what he was doing when he gave us 7 children because I do not function in chaos – but I am learning how, bit by bit by bit.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Take care of yourself and that little one.

  25. I sit here with my 3 week old snuggled up on my chest asleep, with a basket of folded laundry at my feet that has been sitting here for three days (at least it got folded!), toys and books everywhere… my temptation is to feel guilt for sitting here and enjoying the sweet smell of my newest one’s little head. Your words are a great reminder to find the beauty of these days with little ones – maybe even to delight IN the messiness of it all somehow.

  26. Hello Ginny. I’m a mother of 6 homeschooling children as well. I TOTALLY relate to your post. I just want to give you a passage of a song that is in our song book at church. It spoke to my heart last week and it really help alot. “Let not earthly things in any way incumber. Bare your children on your heart in all you do. For the years you with them share are few in number. While you’ve time love every child God gives to you.” It helps me breath instead of stress. Even though I’ve stressed too.

    I hope you find this encouraging. : )

  27. Marilyn says:

    I think it is REALLY hard to live in chaos — yet I certainly have and do! Although I do find that the chaos is of a different sort and easier once children are out of diapers, trustworthy to brush their teeth, etc. When my children were little, I could not imagine having more (I had 3 children in exactly 2 years). I felt just pulled in 14 different directions all the time, and always felt worn out. I hated not having time to prepare nice meals, as I love to cook. But toddlers and babies do not want fancy food — or God-forbid, anything “mixed”– so I made simple meals for a few years. I felt like my life was defined by those divided plates! One of my kids was always doing dangerous things; he never got hurt but he kept me so focused on him that I felt the other two did not get enough of me. Toilet training was easy-peasy with one, average with another, and completely impossible with the third. I swore NO WAY would I want to go through raising another little kid. It seems SOOO SILLY that all those small problems drove me nuts — because of course the kids were adorable, and cuddly, and funny and surprising as are all young children. And, now that my children are older I think it would be nice to have another little one. Unfortunately, I had to have a hysterectomy last year so the complete-chaos-and-simple-meals chapter is closed. So I am glad I can live vicariously through blogs like yours to enjoy the chaos. I find it almost miraculous that you have kept your perspective, and I admire you for that!!!

  28. Because it is too easy to miss those good parts. Kudos to you for this. I can relate to your previous self. I was her. Now I try to remember the words of a wise friend who told me of her childhood. She mentioned that the house was never clean, but her mother always had time for her and her siblings. She knew she was loved above all else. I am hoping my kiddos have that tale to tell despite a few dust bunnies.

  29. I don’t focus on the messes, because I don’t want to miss all the good parts…. Exactly. This is what I need to remember. My husband and I are both teachers, with five children going in several different directions some days. Our youngest are 4 yo twins. And, yes, our house is often a big ole’ mess. But, we roll with it, trying to have daily 10-minute “power cleans”, with deep cleainings built-in …When we have the time…

  30. True, true…but not easy for me either. (And a cicada in his mouth…oh my!)

  31. Wonderful post..

  32. Shelley says:

    Thank you for helping me keep things in perspective. My counters are covered with breakfast dishes, and let’s be honest – some from dinner last night. The floors are covered with toys, laundry on the floor, beds not made….but my kids need to feel loved and it’s a beautiful day outside. I will focus on what really matters!

  33. Ginny! There must be something in the air. I feel it too….the hamster wheel thing. Sigh. I just wrote a post today “the good stuff”…so I had to smile when you said you don’t want to miss any good parts…its true we are surrounded by good and I feel like there is icky stuff surfacing…for us to see and let go of so that we can move on. It feels intense at times though. A pre dinner walk to an elderly neighbor helped me out last night. Life is beautiful.

    :)Lisa

  34. Oh, so beautifully said.

    But it’s those roses that I keep coming back to. Those are perfect in every way.

  35. speak it sister! the way you described the dishes is how it seems in my house with the laundry. i am forever doing it and it is forever piling up. being a mama to a big family (6 kids here) it seems the best thing to do is to let go of something so i can enjoy the kids, otherwise i am chasing my tail all day and just frustrated with the never ending messes and clutter.

  36. “Thank goodness for daisies. And for knitting. Oh, and perspective. And the ability to set our own priorities. And for kisses from my nearly two year old baby, to distract me from his great big messes. And for little road trips, and surprise gifts in the mail. For those rare days when the house is mostly clean, if only for five minutes. For boys practicing the piano, and roses on the fence.”

    This, Ginny. YES. It’s how I’m trying to spend my summer, intentionally seeing the butterflies and moths and roses and daisies and blowing bubbles and dancing in the wading pool and having a cool drink of water after we take a walk… these are the best days… I will miss them when they are gone!

  37. Keep it simple, sweet friend. All of our houses are messy- you aren’t the only one! Toys and books scattered about, laundry piled up, dirty dishes in the sink, crumbs on the floor….this is what I see from where I sit, typing this message to you! But it is what it is, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We are exactly where God wants us to be and what a blessing! Everything that surrounds us- every little mess and every big one as well- they are gifts from the Father. The sweet little ones that make the messes (and the sweet big ones, too!) are proof of God’s grace and love for us. So enjoy these messes and overlook them. I do:)

  38. Oh, I needed this today! Thanks! I’m a mom of 3 boys, ages 4, 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 with a husband that works crazy hours and travels several days a week. We made muffins this morning and it started out so neat and orderly. By the time we were done it looked like a bomb went off! The youngest emptied a cabinet of baking sheets, pans, etc and then climbed into the kitchen sink to reach his dirty sippy cup. The middle one dropped eggs on the floor and almost dumped the buttermilk too. The oldest had “Are they done yet?” on repeat from the moment I pulled the recipe out of the binder. I try very hard to involve them in meal prep to encourage them to eat well and teach them proper nutrition and they do LOVE cooking with me but some days it just gets to be a bit much for even messy by nature me.

  39. My house is a mess. I gave up years ago. But occasionally I will just freak out about the mess….and no one seems to know what I’m talking about. My husband just reminds me that someday they will all be gone and I will be wishing for a mess to clean.

  40. Teresa C says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Maybe not on the same topics, but I sometimes struggle with what I wanted instead of enjoying what I have. The sense of loss with the house we didn’t bought is just one example. Your words really struck a cord here.
    All the best! 🙂

  41. Ahh! The cicada in the mouth would have pushed me over the edge. Yikes. I thought we would have some cicadas up here (just north of DC), but I haven’t seen any. Hmm. Anyway, this post is a good reminder to enjoy the messes. Sometimes I drive myself crazy to get everything clean, but with these little ones, there is always something to clean. Might as well enjoy the daisies, like you are. Thanks for the reminder Ginny.

  42. Love you posts as always Ginny ! I must say I shivered when I read of the cicada. Here is north Texas they don’t arrive until August and it can get very loud!

  43. It is quite something, how we can grow and change. When I was young I too had very set ideas on how I thought my life should be and I am *so glad* that God saw fit to do otherwise. It is such a blessing to have a big family; I only have 2 siblings but my Mother is the youngest of 8 and we all love going to see our Aunts and Uncles…and those my age who have more siblings have some of the best of friends and those of my friends who are an only child often feel a deep loneliness. So I think those who God gives a larger family too have a real and significant blessing. I am so glad for you and your family. Knitting and perspective; these are also gifts! 🙂 Have a peaceful day! 🙂

  44. Yes, yes. I’m talking about perspective and filtering today too. Because life is so messy. And so beautiful. Love to you, friend.

  45. Yes, I was also that girl that rearranged her room and took delight in organizing drawers and spaces….I’m now the Mom of 9 who does her best but life is messy (very messy most days). I realized when my 3rd was coming in 3 years and my husband was out to sea that I could drive myself crazy trying to maintain the strict order OR I could give in to this life of little ones and do my best with the constant mess.
    I love your roses on the fence, very pretty!

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