There is a dissected sandwich left over from lunch on my kitchen chair–mayo side firmly adhered to the chair, bologna and cheese splayed like a fan, and crust (of course) peeled off and discarded. The table is sprinkled with powdered sugar and the remains of manicotti, reheated macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, and several cups at different phases of consumption: never been touched, half full, empty, and spiked with baby backwash. The powdered sugar, yet another leftover, is from breakfast. The other breakfast castoffs and dishes are piled by the kitchen sink so everything is touching but nothing is actually stacked. It is an elaborate display left in the wake of kids rushing like a cresting wave out the front door for the last day of school.
As I look over my kitchen in all its noon-time glory, I nestle in at the messy table with the Entertainment section, half a hamburger from last night, and some blue-ribbon quality homemade potato salad. And, I fill my glass full of chocolate milk–my all-time favorite, fiercely safe-guarded beverage that I have stealthily hidden in the fridge so nobody knows it’s there but me. Today for lunch I don’t have to worry about sharing, because I am alone. Evidence of four children and a husband are all around me, but for now I am deserted and alone. I admit it is a relief to sit in a quiet house and simply reflect on a rather busy morning.
Two hours later, I’m back in the kitchen where I began. The kids came home, ate only half of what was offered, and left. They just left. School is over and they are off to begin their summer adventures of girlfriends, talking, giggling, scheming, guy-pals, xbox, Wii, bikes, Otter-pops, exploring, chasing, water guns, pools, swinging, lots of laughing, big loud boy noises, sunburns, sunscreen, BBQs and homemade ice cream.
And now the house is empty and I am alone . . . a leftover of sorts. But as long as the children return this evening, and every summer evening, with leftovers of their own adventures to share with me, I’m OK with that.
I’m convinced that someday it will be the leftovers that I cherish. One day I will miss the smell of sweaty, little boys. One day I will miss the slamming of the screen door whose spring was gone the same week it was installed. One day I will miss the Popsicle sticks left all over the yard, the chalk drawings on the driveway, and the pile up of dishes in the sink on lazy summer afternoons. One day I will even miss the dirty, bare-foot prints left on my freshly mopped floor. One day, I will miss all of these leftovers. I will miss them and I will treasure them, for they are only reminders that love, fun, and happiness were found in our family. So yes, today I am OK with having leftovers.
QUESTION: What “leftovers” are you going to miss one day?
CHALLENGE: Notice the things you will miss your kids doing one day, and then participate in the activity with them today. (Eat popsicles with them, play tag until you’re sweaty and sweaty, walk bare-foot in the dirt. . . .)