Sitcoms and moms everywhere have made the phrase, “This is why we can’t have anything nice around here,” or some variation on the theme, famous. With children in the house, strange stains, chips, and tears appear out of nowhere, things are often not where you left them, and organization of the constant clutter is an equally constant challenge. And though these bumps and bruises to your home, furniture, clothing, appliances, garden, and plumbing are a small price to pay (well, sometimes an expensive price to pay when there is a Tinker Toy in the drain of your bathroom sink, but that’s a story for another day) for the honor of raising children, you’re not going to find many parents who jump for joy at crayon in the dryer, a melted fruit snack on the upholstery, or a scratch on the hood of the car because “I just wanted to see if my fingernails could leave a mark” (yes, they can).
Fortunately, nearly everything a young child can dish out can be cleaned, repaired, and, if necessary, replaced. So, you keep your perspective and understand that one day this child will be thirty years old with his own place, and you can visit, eat an apple, and leave the eviscerated core under his couch (oh, wait, that probably wouldn’t be nice).
As part of their Sunday afternoon entertainment this weekend, Oscar and Edgar tipped over the ottoman in our dining room. The lining underneath had already started to separate from the frame. Noticing an opportunity, they decided to finish the job and tear the rest of it off–so they could “make a boat.” And just as I was about to say something–profound, I’m sure–about willfully destroying property and not making something worse than it already is, August crawled over to this “boat” and climbed aboard.
And for the next half-hour, my three sons played together in fraternal bliss. A piece of fabric sacrificed for this moment–a very small price to pay indeed.