How I keep a neat house.

“I need to be a part of something.”

Robert DeNiro’s character in the opening scene of “The Intern” talks to the video camera, describing that after he retired and after his wife’s death, he wakes up in the morning, reads his paper and drinks his morning cup of coffee at the local Starbucks. This was my first gasp throughout the movie, and it happened out loud in about 2 minutes after the opening credits. I do adore the energy, the sounds and the smell….oh the smell, when I open the doors into the coffee shop. Every day, I need to be a part of something, too and hopefully it includes coffee.

I won’t write anything else about the movie because you have to see it, but the other, louder than expected gasps, were about compassion, vulnerability and humor. It was a delicious combination of feelings for my Friday night.

Today, my morning started with a class at church. On my drive home I put on my spiritual playlist and heard Meghan Linsey sing “Amazing Grace.” I rolled down the window, waved my arm out and turned it up. How does one word bring my tears out so quickly? My transparent, bright, cobalt blue drops of tears indeed have a lot their own stories inside of them. One tear can be full of grief and fear. One even bigger tear can be full of overwhelming joy.

Kennedy invited me to her room this afternoon to play. It’s pretty common for me to get distracted and start cleaning before we even start to play. Sometimes I walk in her room and think the little doll beds made out of socks are precious and innovative. And then sometimes I walk in her room and am overwhelmed by all of the home made baby beds.

I didn’t realize how insensitive this dynamic is until she largely and loudly pointed it out to me. While I prefer to rule my house and maintain strict order with our things, I changed today. I feel like it isn’t fair to her to not be able to have all of her baby dolls lying in their home made beds because I feel like socks belong in the sock drawer, babies belong in the cradle and blankets belong in the box. She lives here too, and I want her to love her space.

It’s always been easy for me to keep this same sense of separation with my 17 year old son’s room, but that’s mainly because of the smell and hazard imposed when opening the door, and also because he doesn’t invite me in there to play.

Without exaggeration I write to you, that this evening Kennedy asked me “Mom, what does sacrifice mean?”

Eight hundred and sixty two things went through my mind, and the loudest thought was “Giving up something for something else.”I said that out loud, and then thought to myself “For example, when I sacrificed my path to inner peace by having things placed orderly throughout my house……for your happiness.”

She thought about it and asked “Like when I threw up in your car and you stayed home with me?”

“Yes, something just like that.” I smiled and found another path to inner peace.

Now I sit with a glass of wine and my laptop to write a story. Kennedy is next to me with a paper and pen “blogging” about clothes, dancing and zombies. It’s by Thy Grace that I sit here right now and am a part of this family.