Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Little Helpers

I have two very willing little helpers, a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old.  If I make a task small enough, they very gladly and joyfully will do their best at it.  If a job is not done "perfectly" is it still beautiful?  What is the beauty?  Is it really in the aesthetic, or the energy put into it?  How am I defining and evaluating the beauty that I so deserve?

My 5-year-old recently requested a job, so I assigned her to dusting, and she declared it would probably be better to un-dust everything.  I coached her a bit while I was vacuuming.  Her heart really was in it, and she dusted as well as one can anticipate from a child her age.  The dining table is smeared from how much she rubbed it, and the bookshelves are still untouched, but my rocking chair has one very shiny rocker.

Do I count this as the weekly dusting completed?  Do I redo it after she goes to bed, or do I recognize the love and joy she put into it and see beauty there?  I will dust again in a week or two, maybe I'll give her a different job next time around.  Maybe I'll rotate her tasks so she can see what dusting looks like when a grown-up does it, while she gives something else a shot.

I asked her to change out the towels.  With great care she took down every towel in the house, including the kitchen towels, and replaced them with clean ones.  She took the Cars2 beach towels and hung them in the kids' bathroom.  This is not beautiful by adult standards, in fact it is a bit unnerving when you sit across from it.  But she emerged from the bathroom and declared it beautiful.  I see beauty in her effort, I see beauty in the pride she feels in a job well done.  She deserves beauty in her life.

My focus has been on the beauty I know I deserve, and now my focus is widening.  What about the beauty the rest of my family deserves?  I am not required to give it to them, they need to find it or create it on their own.  They are no more responsible for the beauty in my life than I am for theirs.  How do I share a home of beauty, when we all have different standards?

The most beautiful thing in my life is the love of my children, and that of my husband.  Our family is built on love, and I treasure that more than any aesthetic I could create.  My definition of beauty is shifting a little bit from where it was even a week ago.  Cleanliness and order are gradually becoming more valued in my home, and despite a few hiccups, I am still feeling driven and successful.  The balance I am seeking is finding where the beauty actually lies beneath the surface of the things around me.  The aesthetic beauty is the obvious first step, but there is also beauty in being able to be surprised and giggle at the state of the silverware drawer after the 3-year-old reorganizes it.

This is a greater, deeper beauty which I have only recently come to terms with.  The obvious messes and clutter were clouding my vision, and blocking my ability to see other forms of beauty.  Now that I am on a path to tidiness and cleanliness, I have nudged aside the roadblock, and intrinsic beauty is making itself known.

I DESERVE the beauty that comes from a tidy, clean home.  My children DESERVE the beauty of feeling proud for helping.  My husband DESERVES the love and joy that comes from a harmonious household.  My family DESERVES the beautiful love we share.  I DESERVE the beauty of a half-dusted rocking chair, because there is love and joy present in each streak.

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

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