I believe that we do ourselves and each other a disservice when we clean up the house before our friends come over, perpetuating some impossible notion of what real life looks like.
It’s true I believe that outer order contributes to inner calm, and most times it’s this premise that pushes me to straighten, tidy, and put things in their places, but if I’m doing it before friends come over I have to stop and ask myself why.
Right now, as I type, Lucy’s guitar is suspended between the sofa and the coffee table creating a little tunnel over the living room rug, ukulele and capos and pics litter the coffee table, the sofa cushions are all over the living room floor, my suitcase is at the top of the basement stairs, Colorku (great game!) is on the floor under the chair I’m sitting in, dog toys abound. This is Saturday afternoon.
And yet. I’m going to put it all back to right, whatever “right” even means, before we host a group of 7th grade girls tomorrow evening. Maybe it’s because I am anticipating the chaos that comes along with ten teenagers and tidying is just a jump start on finding a slice of inner calm, or maybe there’s some illusion, some impossible notion I'm perpetuating.
It won’t be perfect, don’t get me wrong! There’s a hole in the upholstery on the living room chair, plies of mail on the kitchen counter, the dining room table looks like a study hall, and and the weeds in the front garden are threatening to take over. But I’m going to put away the dog toys and the games, the guitar and the sofa cushions, the suitcase. I’ll probably clear the dining room table, too. I may believe it’s a disservice, but I can’t seem to stop myself.