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Appreciating a little mess

Sometimes a little mess in the house looks nice to me.

A couple weeks ago, our nephew, Andy, and his wife, Danyelle, and three young daughters were at our house for the evening. The girls, Abree, 7, Maelah, 5, and Gloria, 3, had been to our house before and knew there was a stockpile of toys somewhere.

But since our grandkids live in other states and their last visits were several months ago, the toys at our house had long been put away. My house was neat and organized, at least to my standard, with the children’s books and puzzles, card games, crayons and markers all stored in dresser drawers in a spare bedroom. The larger toys, like the kitchen set and building blocks, were stored downstairs next to the family room.

But on that Saturday night, our little guests needed some toys, and I gladly hauled everything out for my great-nieces. It was such fun having little girls playing in my house again while we adults visited and watched the girls.

But before long, it was time for them to go, and Andy and Danyelle had their daughters clean up the toys before they left.

After waving good-bye to the girls and their parents, I turned back to our now quiet living room. The puzzles and books were neatly stacked on the coffee table. The downstairs toys were lined up against a wall. Our house looked about back to normal.

But somehow, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of sadness as I walked through our now silent and neat house. Quite a bit of energy and life had left as that young family drove away.

The next morning, I poured my morning coffee and sat down in the living room, ready to do some Bible reading. I glanced across the room and saw a little white teddy bear on its side along the wall by the couch and, a short distance away, Mr. Bump was hiding underneath a corner table. I smiled as I stood to pick up the stray toys, but then, thinking better of it, I decided I liked the toys just where they were, and I sat back down.  

I liked that my home has that decorative look that says a child has been here, that a child has made herself at home and played.

Two weeks later, that little white teddy bear remains by the back of the couch and Mr. Bump is still underneath the table. And I’m in no hurry to pick them up and put them back into storage.

Because each time I look at those toys, I remember what they represent to me and the little girls who had played there. And once again, I decide it’s good to have a few toys scattered about in my life.

I suppose there will come a day when I pick up those toys and put them away, but I’m not ready just yet.

Sometimes a little bit of mess looks really nice to me.

Shaw Media Staff Writer Donna Barker can be reached at

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