Never before had I invited a friend over to such an embarrassing mess.
We were meeting at a park close to where we both lived. It began to rain. I suggested letting the kids play at the library. It was too far to walk and she did not have a car or carseat with her. I could have set up a rain date, but for some reason I will never quite understand I heard myself say:
“Why don’t we just all go to my place?”
I warned her it was not cleaned. I did not realize the extent of the mess until we walked into the door. Funny how unaware you can be of the very filth you are living it.
Toys were everywhere, and this in itself would be no big deal to me. I have kids, toys come with territory. What about the laundry, some clean, some dirty, diapers (clean and dirty as well) and dried cheese from last night’s dinner strewn across the floor–does this come with the territory as well?
Not just cheese, every step I took I could feel the crumbs, millions and millions of crumbs underfoot. My son is terrified of the vacuum and I had been putting it off.
Perhaps she would leave her shoes on!
No, I could not be so lucky.
She politely removed her slip ons to reveal her bare feet. Bare feet: they would feel each and every crumb.
I offered to make coffee, and to my horror noticed she was following me right into the kitchen. No, no, no, please do not follow me in here! Please sit in the crumb infested living room while I go start the pot.
Not only was the sink piled full of dirty dishes, the counter was overflowing with them as well. I will not even mention the smeared peanut butter, old coffee rings, piles of papers, and even one of my son’s socks–how in the world did an old sock make it up there?
Well, she saw it all now.
No, she did not.
She had to use the restroom. Could she not have went before leaving home?? I pointed her in the right direction and prayed I had thrown away all my feminine products used earlier that morning. Oh, and flushed the toilet. Please, please tell me I flushed the toilet. . .
When she returned, I carried on as though everything was peachy and she did not seem to be bothered in the least. In fact, the play date went surprisingly wonderful. As my embarrassment began to subside I realized how nice it was to be my complete self around this gal.
It was like I revealed a true side of me from the gecko (did I mention this was our first play date) and therefore all walls were somehow down. We opened up to one another and shared our hearts, sipping coffee and not worrying in the least about what kind of mess the kids were making–it was all out on the floor already.
From this first messy play date began a friendship.
Not one based on appearance, but of being completely ourselves; fellow moms simply trying to survive the toddler years.
There are no competitions: who has the better home, the nicer car, whose husband makes the most money, whose kids are the smartest, the cutest, most coordinated (yes, when you have toddlers it is a bragging right to have a coordinated kid).
Did all the competition truly die from one visit to a dirty house? Somehow, seemingly yes. It just took one of us letting the guard down, although completely unintentional it was. We do not always need to have it all together.
It seems, in fact, the moments we finally admit we do not is when someone else feels the courage to admit she does not either. Sometimes the very thing it takes is the simple decision to say:
“Welcome to my messy home.”