I was cuddling Sam a few nights ago and he asked me if I was sad that I was a grownup, "because grownups have to do lots of chores?"
I laughed for a moment, then asked if he knew one of the great secrets of life.
"I know it," he said, "the secret of life is that life is challenging."
I love this kid.
When I was his age, I probably would have said that the secret of life is burying yourself in a stack of Judy Blumes.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm feeling kind of tired by all the work there is to do. Dustbunnies and clutter and dirty dishes seem to build up endlessly. Everywhere. In my house. In my character. In my small corner of the world.
And yeah, I do still want to bury myself in a cozy place and just read til I'm a little old lady with enormous glasses and papery skin, but I'd miss out on a lot.
Because life is challenging.
Life is challenging.
So every day I get up and feed six people and pack three lunches and dress the kids in clothes and snowsuits and put them on the bus and wash dishes and wipe the table and fold some clothes and make beds and vacuum and make lunch and sweep and feed the baby and put the kids down for naps and make snack and greet the big kids off the bus and unpack their backpacks and feelings and lunchboxes and read some stories and wash more dishes and start supper and get out the art supplies and feed the baby again and teach the kids how to set the table for the hundredth time and change bums and let someone help me cook and serve and eat supper and wash the dishes and make bedtime snacks and get the kids ready for bed and brush teeth and cuddle Kachi, and cuddle the big kids, and feed the baby and then tackle one area to declutter and
right about this time of night I start to think that maybe Sam isn't wrong, and being a grownup is synonymous with doing chores. There's always something that needs doing.
And I guess the difference between maturity and immaturity is how I treat the to-do list. Because kid Janelle only knew how good it was to ignore the list and lose herself in a good book; grownup Janelle knows how good it is to work hard. Not necessarily because it feels good to have dishpan hands, but because a clean kitchen is a great place to make food for my family. Because clean clothes and a full lunchbox are evidences of ordinary grace. Because uncluttered spaces nourish uncluttered thoughts and uncluttered hearts. Because when I pour myself out for my family, I build something a whole lot richer than if I stayed in bed with some good books.
To sum it all up, Sam? You're right. Grownups do a lot of chores. And life is challenging. But it's not sad.
The great secret of life is that it's worth it.