About a year (ish) ago I bought a bag of clothes pins. The plan was to use them for closing bags of things in the pantry and for some never-realized craft for the kids. The clothes pins were plentiful for a while and I happily closed our bags of stuff with ease.
And then they began to disappear.
It happened so gradually that I didn’t even notice at first; they just started to become more and more difficult to find until, finally, they were all gone. Occasionally when I’d go to close bags of things I’d mention the disappearance to Keith or the dog or myself. But I never really fully investigated their vanishing – there are plenty of other mysteries that took precedence in my mind – like why Keith can only read every other item on a shopping list, or why my entire family always wants to talk to me when I reach the last twenty pages of a book.
Today, however, I happened to mention the clothes pin disappearance to Molly:
“Molly, I wish I knew where all those clothes pins went.”
“They’re in the princess piñata.”
(We happen to have a princess piñata that’s been hanging out on the floor of our pantry for the past couple of years. Don’t ask – I’m sure there’s a story there but I can’t remember it.)
Lo and behold, the piñata is filled with clothes pins.
Matter-of-fact Molly just shrugged and told me, “That’s where I keep them.”
Of course it is.
So, I was actually kind of excited a bit later when I had the need to close a bag ‘o something. I went straight for the piñata. But, once again, the clothes pins were all gone. I knew who to go to this time.
“Molly! Where are all the clothes pins?”
“I made a person with them.”
“Oh! Can I have one for this bag of rice?”
“No, Mom. I need all of my clothes pins.”
“YOUR clothes pins? I thought they were mine.”
This is my life.
I live in a world where a four-year old is in charge of pantry management and piñatas are mainstays in the kitchen. It’s a magical place of stale cereal, spilled rice, and the need to be prepared for impromptu fiestas.
And, to give credit where credit is due, it’s all my parent’s fault.
Because forty years ago today they got married and started something chaotic, enduring, messy, loud, ever-changing, solid, and beautiful. Forty years ago they created my family. And they taught my siblings and me what a family looks like, a lesson that I think we’ve all taken to heart and used when creating our own families. So, my pantry problems (and dare I say my missing socks?) are their fault because they showed us that family is …
A place where pantry organization takes backseat to childhood
A place where humor wins and laughter heals
A place where tempers run hot and forgiveness flows freely
A place where ukulele, or guitar, or banjo, or harmonica music is the background to all family gatherings
A place where children are seen and heard and cherished
A place where dogs are loved (and the occasional cat is tolerated)
A place where the stories of our past are the folklore my children are raised with
A place where our differences are part of our strength
A place where creativity is embraced and love is quilted and strummed and sang and composed and danced
A place that has never been less than home – no matter where it’s located or how far apart we are from each other.
I think it’s such serendipitous timing that my parent’s fortieth anniversary is the same day as our Molly’s last day as a four-year-old. It’s such a cool connection to me. Forty years ago when they stood at that altar there’s no way they could have known what they were creating.
And today I spent the day soaking up my littlest girl’s littleness. I inhaled her twirling and singing and knock-knock jokes and clothes pin people because tomorrow she turns five and that feels like a big deal to me.