I should have photos, but I don't.
Somewhere in the middle of my caffeine-induced insomnia, I decided to give up on trying to sleep (which was getting really frustrating anyway) and address maybe one or two little (big) things that needed doing but I never seemed to make the time to do. As I lay in the dark, I thought of the mountains of stuff on my children's desks, so much stuff that they could not actually use their desks. They could never find things on their desks. They didn't know what they had. My mind wandered across the room to my own desk, which has been covered in a mountain of stuff for so long that I cannot use the desk, I don't know what's there anymore...oh my. It was time to act.
So, that was "before".
The "during" took much longer than I'd anticipated. There was so much on their desks that it hadn't really occurred to me that there would be stuff in them, too. Each drawer and compartment was full to the brim. Heaps were added to the recycle bin, as I busily (quietly) buried scribbles and torn bits beneath old newspapers so my treachery will not be detected in the morning. I sifted through it all, bit by bit...and beneath the mess, I unearthed gorgeous mountains of treasure, boundless proof of creativity beyond my recognition. I hadn't seen some of these drawings, these colourings, these stories, these creations. They were made and squirrelled and hidden from view in the mass.
And the "after"? I never got to my desk. My heart is so moved by my girls. Each day, they become more and more their own little people. This has been true since they were babies, and it will continue to be true. The big difference now is I won't always see it, unless I look. I need to remember to look every day, to watch every day, to really listen and see them every day.
I always aim to be a mindful parent, but in the daily bustle and busy...I so often fall short. I make it through the manic, and sometimes at the end of the day, I think all I've really minded is the unending to-do list, the clock, and the more urgent-sounding outbursts. I can do better.
I know tomorrow I will regret these lost hours of sleep, but right now, in the middle of the night, I have found treasure that (almost) makes the insomnia worth it.
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Later this morning...
Yet another beautiful thing about the clean desks was the new creativity they inspired. As soon as both girls saw there was space to work, they set right to it.