I don’t know how. It just happens.
Two weeks ago, my kids and I drove to Boston to stay with my husband while he works in the area.
We have a great hotel. I’m blessed. I love it. I get to be on vacation while I’m doing life. It can be hectic traveling so much, but, most of the time, it’s fun.
But Saturday was one of those days that was not fun. A sprinkler head for the fire system started a slow leak in our hotel bathroom on Friday night. We put a towel down and watched it to make sure it was the sprinkler and not some child spraying water everywhere. By Saturday morning, it was obvious. Sprinkler. Definitely. Leaking.
I let the hotel know, and an army of maintenance men showed up at my door.
They wanted us to change rooms. Just in case they triggered the whole system and made it rain inside.
Ok. Good. I don’t want to be in here if it rains. I don’t want my stuff ruined, and it’s super cold. Let’s move. Whee.
Down the hall, a few doors over. We just got all our belongings wedged in to this room, but so what. No problem. Easy.
But then I got down there, and the room looked different. Everything was dirty. There were holes in the walls and in the ceiling . And then I found a piece of surgical tape stuck to the kitchen counter.
I peeled that tape off the counter and stared at it sticking to my finger.
A little tear started to creep out.
I took the tape to the hotel desk. They were horrified and sent maids and the maintenance guys to our new room. They had the holes fixed in five minutes. And the housekeepers did a walk through, but after what I had seen, I didn’t think I could rest until i sprayed the whole thing down with bleach.
I called my husband. “I need bleach. And sponges. Stat.”
He delivered them, said I was awesome, and went back to work.
I looked around at the piles and the dirt and the clothes everywhere. My youngest was having a meltdown. She is my type A kid, everything in little rows and neatly labeled. She was looking for a nail file and couldn’t find one.
“Oh, no, it’s going to be like THIS,” she said.
I bleached the fridge so I could put away food. Bleached the kitchen floor and the countertops and all the chairs. Then I sat down with a glass of water and told the kids to bring me my laptop.
Once in a while, I have an urge to play a game called “Pizza Palace” on Webkinz. Usually at the worst possible time, right in the middle of some domestic disaster that I should be casting out like a demonic plague.
Usually, right about then, I want to play Pizza Palace.
The kids stood around laughing. They were amazed by me and my mad pizza making skillz. And a little bewildered. “Mom? Do you want us to put away our clothes?”
“Um, yeah. Whatever. I don’t care right now. I’m busy. Don’t talk to me. I’m on level 8, and it’s getting hectic. These penguins are the worst.”
I made my oldest daughter get off her math website. She was slowing down the internet.
I told them to get out their tablets. Bewilderment became shock and disbelief. I never tell them to get their tablets. I’m always the one taking them away.
We sat around a freshly bleached counter with our gadgets and gamed. Surrounded by a mountainous mess.
And we laughed.
I cleaned up the mess later. Bleached the whole room top to bottom and put everything away.
I love what Ginny Wilcox said to me recently, “Children know how to play.”
And we are God’s children. We get to play. Yes, we need to work hard and do our best, and that mess had to be cleaned up.
But, anytime I rest, it is a confession of trust and faith that things will work out without me killing myself to get them done. And if I’m hitting my limit, I need to stop a minute. I need to play Pizza Palace.
I need to laugh, and put my feet up, and recharge.
Sometimes it’s ok to play. Right in the middle of a mess.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Neh8:10