Today after my first arrival home, I turned on the oven to preheat, unpacked my scuzzy lunch containers and put them in the sink for washing, shoved the bag o’ breast milk in the fridge, unboxed the frozen lasagna, and then went to sit down on the couch for two minutes (TOPS, I told myself, sternly). I collapsed with my head thrown back on a pillow, exhausted from my all-day, allergy-induced cough-sprees, but mostly from work and commuting. (Always from working and commuting.) I closed my eyes for about 30 seconds (longer would put me in the Sleep Danger Zone) and when I opened them, I thought, “What if the me opening my eyes right now was actually college me? What if I were seeing this place right now with eyes from 15 years ago?”
Look, I don’t know why my brain thinks these weirdo thoughts. In fact, I could probably use that mental energy for other things, like remembering to bring in the $10 we’ve long-owed for Teacher Appreciation Day at Rosie and Max’s school, or where in the world I stored Rosie’s summer clothes, but I digress.
After needing a minute to collect myself at the thought that I was in college FIFTEEN years ago, I scanned the room with a different perspective than before I’d flopped onto the sofa cushions. Before, I thought: This room is a an absolute, utter mess. Now I thought: Well, children must live here. Before, I thought: There’s not enough time to clean up this clutter. Now I thought: You can tell this house is comfortably lived in. Before, I thought: Laundry, ugh. Now I thought: There’s so much color in this house. Before, I thought: CHAOS. Now: Fullness.
It was a nice lens to look through, actually, those college-aged eyes. (Probably not a good idea to do it in the mirror, though. Of this I am certain.) What we have here is a lot, and most of the time it feels like A LOT in the way that makes my brain buzz and rattle and feel a bit unhinged, but in actuality it’s really just a lot. Period. In the good way, the lovely way, the how-did-we-get-so-lucky way. We have a lot. Did we know we’d have all this back then, 19-year old self? No, but now I can see that we secretly hoped that we would.
After my trip back to the future (forward to the past?) I got up and my 34-year old-eyed self popped dinner in the oven, grabbed keys, and walked out the door to go get the very people who fill up this space with color and laundry and life to the brim.