This is a picture of the island in my kitchen on a Monday night. Monday, September 12 to be exact. It is not staged. This is a completely real picture that I took on a whim. It was after school, and we had just gotten back from Costco, with only one meltdown in the car. My husband graciously took the boys outside so I could just get dinner ready. In the midst of being
completely unglued stressed by the chaos, something randomly struck me as kind of funny: our island looked like a page from the I Spy books that my oldest loves to get from the library!
This is real life, and this picture tells a story of our week.
Our oldest started kindergarten this year, and his Minions ™ lunchbox is sitting on the counter. It contains two thirds of the lunch I sent with him that morning, because he hasn’t adjusted to eating lunch in the 20 minutes allotted yet. You can also see the corner of his school folder and just a couple of the 10,000 papers that will travel home in it by next June.
I used the screwdriver to replace the little lightbulbs over the stove that had burned out.
There is a pen (for school forms), a sharpie (labelling all of the things), spare change, and a lighter sitting next to my current favorite candle.
We’ve got our youngest son’s asthma inhaler on the counter, 24/7, because if it gets put away, we miss doses. There is also children’s allergy medicine there–again, as a reminder–for our oldest, in hopes that he will somehow produce less snot.
I was making supper when I took this shot. Adding to the clutter is a cutting board, cheese I had just grated, and a towel covered with trimmings from the vegetables simmering on the stove. The cutting board needs to be soaked in vinegar again to get rid of the stains. And as you can see, I cut vegetables with a steak knife because I’m an untrained, uncultured animal in the kitchen.
Behind the plant is an adult coloring book and colored pencils, that my 5-year-old and I are working on together. We color different sections of the same picture and surprise each other. It’s something sweet (and QUIET!!) that just he and I share.
I had made a Target run earlier that afternoon and some of those purchases were still on the island. There’s nighttime baby lotion, even though the boys aren’t babies anymore. I love the smell so much that I can’t quite stop putting it on my 2 year-old after bath. It makes my heart feel happy and my ovaries scream. There’s some anti-aging face cream that I impulse-purchased at Target after looking in the mirror on a Monday morning. Warning: do not attempt. Another random mom and I stood in the aisle lamenting that there isn’t just one perfect cream called THIS IS THE ONE that erases all evidence of being older than 24, persistent lack of sleep, sun damage, and children. There’s a big tube of Aquaphor, because obviously. That stuff is actually THE ONE (disclaimer: not a paid spokesperson…though I should be).
Yep, there’s a highchair tray with lunch plate still on it, even though it was dinnertime. It’s covered in balsamic reduction, which is my secret weapon to get the kids to eat anything. There are crumbs everywhere, including the floor, and stuck to the bottom of my feet. The boys have run inside 63 times in 25 minutes, because only Mom can get them water in a Dory cup. Also, if you look closely, there’s a little mason jar on the counter half-full of red wine. Yes, Monday happened, and it’s important that everyone live to see Tuesday.
And there, sitting in the middle of the island is that one happy plant.
It’s an African Violet that my mom gave to me a couple years ago and it is still alive. There it sits, among the chaos and crumbs, and blooms continuously. The island will be completely clean in a day or two, only to be buried again in 10 minutes. But we’ll just keep blooming, because life is so much more than the messes we make.