reflections on Mrs Peterson

I’m reading Little House in the Big Woods, a childhood favorite, to Aviana.

“Sometimes Ma let Laura and Mary go across the road and down the hill, to see Mrs. Peterson. The Petersons had just moved in. Their house was new, and always very neat, because Mrs. Peterson had no little girls to muss it up.”

It’s funny to think that back in the 1870’s. the Ingalls girls had one doll apiece, one pair of shoes, a few different dresses, and spent as much time as possible out-of-doors and still Laura knew they mussed up the house.

I am feeling particularly frustrated with the state of my home. Distorted thinking or not, I feel like such a failure when the newspaper sticks to the gunk on the counter; Cheerios stick to my feet as I walk across the kitchen; no sooner do I get the table cleared off someone wants to make rainbows-involving cutting, pasting, coloring, and glitter glue; assorted toys and tutus are lounging in the living room and the laundry is amassing by the minute.

I put Brielle down to play so I can use both hands to empty the dishwasher and load the tottering tower of dishes, and she promptly disgorges the plasticware drawer, tossing lids and containers hither and yon (mostly yon) with delightful abandon. She really needs a nap, and as soon as that task is accomplished, she’s back in my arms, fussing and whining so that I can hardly bend over to put in the dishes.

I. just. want. to. establish. an. appearance. of. order. PLEASE.

Then I sit and nurse and and read Little House, and think how sad that sentence is “because she had no little girls to muss it up.” What would I do without my little girls?

I can’t imagine going back to living with everything staying just where I put it; with no one trying my shoes on for size and having to reminded to put them away; with no one twirling wildly through the house, singing an Aviana version of some song or other; with no bright eyed gigantic Brielle grin as she mischeiveously dumps all the colored pencils out to hear their delicious noise; with no one following me around clamoring, “I want to help you, Mama!”

Oh, I just can’t imagine!

I met an empty nest couple at church on Sunday whose youngest is graduating from college. They told me it seemed just like yesterday when they too had a baby on one hip, a toddler in hand, with the diaper bag and the toddler’s church bag thrown over the shoulder. They told me how lucky I am. They told me they miss it. They told me it goes by too fast.

It’s hard to believe that someday there’ll be no sticky juice brightening my counters or glitter glue garnishing my table or recently mouthed crackers adorning my floor.

Please God, don’t let it come too soon. Let me love these moments here and now. Remind me of what is important in life–taking joy in my babies, not a house that is always very neat, because I am so blessed to have little girls to muss it up!

4 thoughts on “reflections on Mrs Peterson

  1. Oh girl, how I HEAR you! I too worry about the mess sometimes …but you’re so right when you say its a fleeting moment in our lifetime, too soon everything will sparkle and we’ll wish for those cheerios again 🙂

  2. This also from Laura Ingalls Wilder, taken from a collection of articles she wrote for a magazine in the early 1900’s, and also spoken by Laura in one of the Little House Books.

    “Time to Enjoy Life!”

    “Why should we need extra time in which to enjoy ourselves? If we expect to enjoy life, we will have to learn to be joyful in all of it – not just at stated intervals when we can get time or when we have nothing else to do.”

    Such a wise woman she was!I think her Little House series was and still is one of the most profound influences on my life. I have read it many times over, including to both of my sons when they were young, and now to my granddaughters.

    Last summer I took my older gr.daughter (then 7) to Minnesota to visit family in New Ulm, and from there on a day trip to Walnut Grove and Plum Creek. She was in her glories!

    The site remains on the farmstead of the current owners, and you can walk across the creek and actually still see the depression where the sod house was “On the Banks of Plum Creek”.

    Sorry this is such a long comment, but I feel that this quote has always helped center me as a mother. I continue to enjoy your blog!

  3. Lisa says:

    My house is not an empty nest, however, they do grow up fast! I can’t believe that my baby is 13 and my 2nd is 8.
    Hug them while you can, later, they will just roll their eyes…lol

  4. What a great post! I know I’m the same way when the house gets bad…thanks for this heartening reminder that our children are more important that our “things”…

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