Making Messes

I was reminded again this week that a transformation takes place when you become a grandmother. Now I must be totally honest and upfront by acknowledging that messes have never bothered me very much. Yet, I can honestly say that they bother me even less now that I am a grandmother! I realize the main reason for this is that I don’t have to live with the mess, after the grandchildren return home, I can pick up at my leisure. I also admit that as an artist, it takes a mess to create so I am used to messes.  That is true with sewing and cooking as well, messes are the by-product of these endeavors.

One of the lovely young mothers in our community shared the following incident that illustrates making a mess.

My dear friends,

I just walked in the door from Moms Night Out with you! I walk in to see my mom sweeping up powdered sugar. My mom proceeds to tell me that while she was putting #2 to bed #1 decided to play like she was cooking.  Too bad she didn’t use her play kitchen. Too bad she used real ingredients! She had decided to cut an apple, put it in a cupcake holder,(no pan) sprinkle it with powdered sugar and was fixing to put it in the oven. I know you can imagine the mess. Thankfully she can’t turn the oven on yet!

Oh the joys!

It was a joy to this little girl! The issue of making messes is not “cut and dried”. We don’t want our children wasting cooking ingredients or endangering themselves and others.  Yet there is a time and place to make a mess – maybe it’s with a grandmother! There is also a time to have things clean and neat  – free from mess. A word of warning – beware of your method for achieving neatness – it may follow you in infamy as happened to me.

ONE TIME, I wanted to let the kitchen floor dry after mopping it. So, ONE TIME I asked our 4 children to play outside and not come inside until the floor was dry. To ensure that they followed my instructions,  I locked the doors, ONE TIME.

Of course, after two minutes they needed to use the bathroom, get a drink, every excuse imaginable to get in the house! These were the same 4 children who were nowhere to be found at meal time or bed time, no, they never wanted to come in the house then!

To this day, our children love to tell about their mother who locked them out of the house and wouldn’t let them in – like it happened all the time!

Looking back I realize that a clean floor is not all that important. Erma Bombeck once said that she was amazed when she mopped her kitchen floor after everyone went to bed and when she got up in the morning – it was still clean! My mother once told me not to worry about messes because before I knew it the children would be gone and then there wouldn’t be anyone around to make a mess. She was right. (except I am still here making messes)

Jesus addressed this issue in Luke 10:38-42

 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”   41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  
This Scripture does not address messes specifically, but it does speak to the issue of what is really important. Jesus was pleased that Mary had chosen to spend time with Him, listening at His feet. Jesus did not regard the preparations Martha made as valuable in comparison to the time spent with Him.

Preparing meals, making cards, painting pictures, all these tasks make messes. They also can be completed more quickly and neatly by ourselves. Yet making the extra effort to include our children and grandchildren in these messes builds a relationship. That is what Jesus  wanted with Mary and Martha. That is an example for us as well.

8 thoughts on “Making Messes

  1. kathy says:

    I love it! Can’t wait to be able to make messes with my grand baby!


  2. Cathy Makinson says:

    This one made me think of the precious, messy times cooking with grandchildren…and the mopping story I could so relate to….love you!


  3. Michelle says:

    Good word! Thanks for sharing!


  4. Abigail says:

    Yesterday I let the boys loose outside and they made a royal mess in the mulch. They were playing so nice together for once that I just couldn’t tell them to stop even though I knew their dad wouldn’t be thrilled with the resulting mess. When I told him about it when he got home he was fine with it though. Needless to say, it was baths for everyone last night!


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