PERSPECTIVE: On the beauty of occasional chaos


The anticipation of a grandchild visit ignites flutters of the heart like no other. When I don’t see my grandkids for a while, and then look forward to a pending visit, I feel like my world collapses into the space of awaited delight. All thoughts are filtered through popsicles in the freezer, bubbles in the tub, and little arms outstretched.

And then the organization of contents of my home become unrecognizable. Lovely vases are placed on top of the refrigerator. Coffee table arrangements are quickly disassembled as pudgy hands reach atop tippy toes, intrigued by the reachable. Cheerios flank the floor, and Fischer Price serenades from distant corners of the family room. Time spent together is all encompassing, and I’m reminded of the challenge to remain “young” enough so that my knees continue to bend easily to the floor.

Following a recent weekend of grandparent bliss, I was anxious to return my home to order. My husband and I waved goodbye, stealing a few more kisses from the little ones buckled in their car seats. And then we offered one another a sigh of relief. Time for normalcy.

The next hours were spent picking up blocks, sweeping floors and returning little toys to my grandchild cabinet. It felt good to restore harmony. As I surveyed my home, room by room, I was stopped time and again by heart memory. There, under the couch was a lost little sock reminding me of those little blue tennis-shoed feet running down the driveway in pursuit of the bouncing ball. Chubby legs moving so fast challenge my sprinting skills. In the bathroom, princess stickers lined the wall from floor to toddler eye level. I smiled.

I could still hear my granddaughter sing her repertoire of Disney songs. Rubber toys remained scattered in the once filled tub, and I remembered how my clothes became wet while washing feet gone wild. I found the missing puzzle pieces beneath the kitchen table, and the clean laundry basket uncovered burp cloths, “Somebody Loves Me” onesies, and tiny head bows.

I think there was a time I thought my home would be different once my kids left. Some other version of me dreamt of tidiness, organization and the ability to host the Queen upon the occasion of any pop in visit. But alas, at least for now, that’s not the case. Disorder seems to reign pretty often, but within that world treasures unearth. The grasp of little tubby fingers along the sidewalk transcends the heart. Curious minds curled in a cozy lap are a reminder of how imaginations come alive through storybook pages. And perhaps most poignant is the knowing that relationship seeds between child and grandparent bear the sweetest of fruits.

So, for today, I sit with order. My house is quiet and floors are without clutter. Soon enough, I trust, there will be another day when equilibrium is replaced by mess and squeals of delight. I realize that as long as I am not wearing yogurt on my face, fun-filled chaos at Nona’s house is nothing short of perfect.

Anne Marie Romer is one of our regular community contributors.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Opinion: GOP tax reform used to be unpopular. Not anymore.

WASHINGTON — When the Republican-controlled Congress first approved its tax bill in December, most Democrats believed it would be a political loser for the GOP. Indeed, a New York Times poll found that just 37 percent of Americans approved of the plan. “To pass a bill of tax cuts and have it be so unpopular with the American people is an...
Opinion: Everybody’s better than you-know-who

Perhaps you read this week that Donald Trump has replaced James Buchanan as the worst president in the history of the United States. This was in a survey of experts in presidential politics — people who have an opinion about whether Chester A. Arthur was better than Martin Van Buren. Trump came in last, with a score of 12 out of 100. Perhaps...
Opinion: Gun control about saving lives, not waging culture wars

WASHINGTON — You have perhaps heard the joke about the liberal who is so open-minded that he can’t even take his own side in an argument. What’s less funny is that on gun control, liberals have been told for years that if they do take their own side in the argument, they will only hurt their cause. Supporters of even modest restrictions...
Opinion: Photo captures Trump's notes for listening session
Opinion: Photo captures Trump's notes for listening session

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump held a worthwhile listening session Wednesday featuring a range of views on how to combat gun violence in schools. And while Trump's at-times-meandering comments about arming teachers will certainly raise eyebrows, for the most part he did listen. Thanks in part, it seems, to a helpful reminder. ...
Opinion: Going to school shouldn’t turn into a death sentence

MIAMI — I know a high-school senior who hadn’t heard the awful news from Parkland before he got home Wednesday. He stared at the television and said, “What?” And, moments later, shaking his head: “What the hell?” This young man doesn’t know anyone who goes to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, though it’s...
More Stories