Learning to Admire My Mess

I fell for it again, the Pinterest trap of crafting.  Not a natural DIYer, I get sucked in by the bright pictures and step-by-step illustrations.  I buy into the idea that even I could make this, assemble that, forgetting history. This time: a simple wreath made of clothes pins, painted red, white, blue and clipped to a wire form.  White painted stars adhered to the blue section finish the adorable July 4th decoration sure to make any door sing with patriotic glory.  Step 1, step 2, step 3, hang, admire.  So easy.  Or not.  I probably bought the wrong paint, I surely wasn’t supposed to ask a 5 year old to help, I forgot about that craft mat thing to put the wet pins on. Most of my porch chairs now are singing with their own slashes of red, white and blue and all the pins are stuck to the table.  I walked away from this mess for 2 days, unable to even face the disaster, my own failing, the inability to follow the basic instructions to create some beauty.  I need Pinterest for the Rest of Us, those of us who have hearts that yearn to create but have no talent.  I need way more steps, maybe even a warning, asking if I REALLY want to tackle this? Step 1: have you thought this through? Step 2: grab some coffee, think some more.

I think the complication comes down to messiness.  The art of crafting requires clutter, flexibility, sticking with the project in the moment, not working too far ahead.  Even when I am cooking, I wash dishes as I go, the finished product leaving no mess behind.  Peanut butter sandwich? Each item is stored away before the next is used.  I will admit to some rigidity in my ways, a certain lack of spontaneity. Clutter, surprises, off-schedule makes me anxious.  A lot anxious.  Attending Chef’s niece’s graduation party yesterday got messy, spontaneous, off-schedule.  The worst kind of project for me, one I wasn’t able to control, clearly the world was ending.

Heading to Indianapolis midday with a hot, tired 5 year old who wanted to play with his friends and his brand new play set, I could only see the obstacles.  We bartered, I calmly explained the issues, my Chef patiently explained it would be fine.  We bickered.  We got to the party, visited with family and I played with Plum to keep him occupied.  So far so good. And then the bomb hit. The pins stuck to the table, the project got messy.  We were asked to come to the after party, I was put on the spot, Chef told his cousin to talk me into it.  Already approaching bedtime, facing an hour drive with a child who doesn’t ride well, a brand new swing set that had yet to be explored, dogs who hadn’t been let out for hours, I could only see paint splotches all over my chairs.  A project gone very wrong.  A disaster for me to clean up.  But to the party we went.  The boy played in the sprinkler, we had more time with family we rarely see, we collected hugs and smiles, filling up our soul. Still I couldn’t stop my anxiety from expanding.  Chef stuck to the timeline we had agreed to, maybe because I threatened no tv for two weeks and the NBA playoffs are happening. Either way, we headed home, no traffic, anxiety lifting.  Until we reached his car at work.  The original plan was to pick it up and head home, he wasn’t going back in. He again changed the plan, as he got out of the car with the over-tired, dirty boy, mentioning he needed to make sure “they” were okay.  The red paint was nothing compared to the color I was seeing as he sauntered off, leaving me to deal with dogs and a boy and bedtime and my schedule all messed up.  I had counted on his help to get things back on track since he was the derailer. Step 1: get home, step 2: let the dogs out, step 3: let the kid play, step 4: clean up everything while getting bedtime stuff ready, step 5: get kid to bed, step 6: remember all the ways Chef was wrong so I can tell him.

Miraculously, no pillows were chewed, no messes to clean.  The boy explored his playset while I tried to get pjs and books selected, dogs fed, snack made.  The meltdown came when I said it was time to come in, tears I anticipated all day.  Ha, I knew it.  Justification for my rigid timeline.  Except Chef appeared right then, took over with the boy, both came in when I called next time.  Books were read, snack was eaten, the boy went to sleep.  Step 1, step 2, step 3. done. I still had a car to empty, trash to collect, wet clothes to deal with so I generated a production of my own, a stomping, whirling, meltdown of the adult variety while Chef sat in his chair.  He ignored my nonsense, wisely.

I spent the day much like I spend my time crafting. I start out with great intentions and then the mess and worry take over, ruining the project.  I can see how I want it to be, I just don’t follow the instructions, I keep trying to clean up while we are still creating.  Yesterday could have gone differently, I could have come home to chewed couch cushions, the child could have cried the whole way home.  My worries would have been reinforced, but they weren’t.  Even if that was our experience, it wouldn’t have been life ending.  We all survived and I complicated what could have been a rather simple day.  Step 1, step 2, step 3.

This battle I have over controlling for all possible outcomes leaves little room for trust in others, faith in God.  Staying in charge is exhausting and not really very fun to be around, I would guess.  In fact fun is about the opposite of me.  Let Go and let God, I hear so often in my mind. Let go and trust your husband, let go and trust the mess inside of you.  There is fun and creativity waiting to come out.  Red, white and blue splotches on the table instead of clothes pins still speak to patriotism, missed bedtimes in the summer mean memories. Each day as I allow a bit more of my mess to show, as I own my need to control, I find God greeting me with a patient smile, trusting that I am following his instructions.  Step 1: look to God, Step 2: try again, Step 3: repeat.

 

 

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