Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Signs of Life


“Remember your old apartment on Sycamore?” my friend Penny asked.

“Sure.”

“When we used to come there all the time for the book club, I always noticed how beautiful the street was.”

“It’s a great street,” I said.

“And you with your black pants and Chinese slippers and your cat. Your place always looked so perfect inside and you always looked so… lonely.”

I think of this conversation as I’m tripping over the three-foot tall Batcave blocking the door to my closet. A dog is sleeping on top of the clean laundry that is heaped, unfolded in the big chair. Dishes are piled high in the drainer and the sink and on the counter. My mother refers to these messes as “signs of life.”

My home is filled with these “signs.” When the chaos and clutter and sticky floors feel overwhelming, when it’s me versus the mess, and the mess is winning, I remember that I have traded my color-coded closet for this sweet, chaotic life. These are the days and people and animals I choose and I am grateful. I'm not lonely anymore.

And no I don’t know what that is smeared on your pillow and no, I will not smell it, but I do adore you.

53 comments:

  1. True, real life is so very, very messy.
    Do you still have those Chinese slippers?
    Sigh...

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    1. I always have Chinese slippers. The Legos don't hurt so much when you step on them wearing Chinese slippers.

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  2. Chills.

    Because you saved me today.

    I just took a break, hopping to my daily blog readings: because I am overwhelmed from the two hours I've already put in swiping toilets, cleaning off countertops, folding laundry, updating grocery list, getting in my morning exercise, checking teeth to be sure they'd done a good job brushing, refilling medications, and supervising bed making.

    The sink is already full with breakfast dishes.

    I look around, and it looks like I've done NOTHING.

    Like I do NOTHING.

    Thank you, Lisa, "signs of life."

    I am now sighing, relieved, understood.

    Thank you.

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    1. And I hope we never run out of those signs.

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    2. Yup. Always looks like I've done nothing.

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  3. This is how my daughter's house looks. I love the eight year old's crossword puzzle taped to the dining room wall with the admonition LEVE THIS HERE.

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  4. i love this. we took our youngest to college this weekend past and now the house stays neat, and i miss the mess so much.

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    1. When we go to my mom's place, she has us leave our mess for the same reason.

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  5. I can imagine you in your Chinese slippers with your small perfect home. I cannot imagine you without the gratitude love and radiance I know.

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  6. Ahhhhh... I am buried in these "signs" right now. these signs feed off themselves and multiply. But I am not lonely. My house is not sterile... it is brimming with life.
    Needed this post today. :)

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  7. Oh this is so me! I need to remind myself of how good I have it, even if my house is total sticky chaos! Thank you!!

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  8. Thank you, Lisa.

    I have many piles to deal with today, and I will try to remember your words.

    XO
    Jeni

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    1. We will miss the piles some day, I know we will.

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  9. I knew you then.
    I know you now.
    There were always signs of life... They were just quieter then.

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  10. I wonder if I'd look lonely to her, too. The truth is that I am so well-suited to living alone. The past 7 years by myself have been the happiest of my life.

    (No offense meant toward people who live in familial chaos. I love that you love it. It's just that, for me, solo chaos is my preferred mode).

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  11. She knows me well, I was lonely. Not the same as living alone, for sure. xo

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  12. A beautiful perspective and one which I'll refer to often when I scream....WILL YOU PLEASE PICK UP ALL THESE SIGNS OF LIFE IN YOUR ROOM!!!

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  13. Lisa. . . this made me cry. Thank you for this today. I know this feeling and this resonates deep in my forty one year-old soul.

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  14. That last line... oh man, sounds like my life. Well, I mean it all does, but especially that last part. ;)

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  15. So the dust balls and pet fur lining my stairs and the piles of my daughters'junk to go through 'before school starts' (oops too late!,) just mean I'm in the thick of life? Awesome.

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  16. I have just discovered this blog, through my friend Karen on FB. Thank you the perfect depiction of those days, long gone for me. You nail it.With my babes grown an out in the world now, what a delicious trip down precious memory lane. All the cliches are so, so true- how fast those years fly by! I am so grateful for all those busy, overflowing days. Thanks for the reminder. Jamie in Baywood

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    1. The days are flying, it's true.
      Thanks for reading, Jamie.

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  17. Ever since I started reading "smacksy" I've thought of it as the place where you record the snippets of your life in all its richness and abundance. I wonder what Bob will think of all it when he's a young man and looks back at the joy he was constantly surrounded by in your world. I wish every parent had the time, the inclination, and the time to do this for themselves, their families, and those of us who didn't experience anything remotely carefree in childhood or beyond.

    You're doing something so incredibly special here. I hope you know how much light and joy you spread by allowing us to peek into a world of magic through Bob's and your eyes.

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  18. Oh, Cheryl. Thank you so much, that means the world to me.
    xoxo

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  19. I agree, I too had my own place and all that jazz but I wouldnt trade it for the 4 of us (we have a dog too)

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  20. I love this. Such a good reminder to love our very own signs of life - messy or gooey as they may be!

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  21. If I could send you a photo of me right now of my new house-- me in my "office" surrounded by unpacked boxes (with cats napping on them) and little bitty toys and random clothes like a (dirty) sock of Eli's and Zach's winter coat from last year and paper piles threatening to spill over and my sanity about to spill over with them, you'd know how right this blog post did me today. Thank you, as always. xo Jennifer

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    1. Those boxes will unpack themselves eventually. I'm sure of it. xoxo

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  22. Would you believe I was interrupted while reading this by 5 y o yelling for me to come help him wipe his tush? Seems fitting. Love this post. And the fact that I'm not the only one with the "piles". :)

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  23. Love LOVE this! And I adore that your mom wants you to leave your messes/signs at her house. So sweet.

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    1. Thanks, Liz. We have plenty of signs to spare.

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  24. I keep telling myself to relax about the signs of life. I know it's only a small window of time before they will be gone. I want to spend all my time enjoying the life instead of stressing over the signs. Beautiful post.

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    1. Thanks, Nelly. I have to remind myself every day.

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  25. Oh I love this so much. So many signs of life here...and maybe some weird shit growing over there in the corner..but I don't want to check it out.

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  26. My girl stored her half-eaten cheese on my iPad screen this evening. That was a sign of life I could have lived without, but then, I'll feast off that anecdote forever. Also, I live with a neatnik so my pre-family home was far, far messier. So all hail our grubby, silly signs of life.

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