Friday, January 22, 2016

Game vs. Closet

‘Twas the week after Christmas, and all through the house, kids were occupied with new toys and gadgets, dad was back to work,  and mom breathed a sigh of relief so big that you might think she would pass out from lack of oxygen.  Maybe it’s just me, but the holiday season gets harder and harder every time I flip the calendar to December.  This year, things got so very busy that I baked one kind of cookie.  That used premade refrigerated dough.  I am ashamed.
But after the giant buildup and the all-nighters where I wake up with tape stuck to my face and snuggled in wrapping paper, suddenly things seems to pause.  All at once, the speed of life goes from mach 3 to the pace of a snowflake, floating down in the stillness of winter.  The stress of finding something red or green to wear has disappeared and as much fun as it is to see friends and family and hug people you barely know, you find yourself with no where to go, and nothing to do. 
Relishing that bit of time with not much on the to-do list, I find myself sitting and thinking of what I should do to fill the day.  If I was an animated cartoon, I’m sure something like an angel would pop up on one shoulder, and a devil on the other.  Except it’s not an angel and a devil.  It’s a board game on one side, and an organized closet on the other. 
The board game chants from one side: play with us!  The kids got me, a great new game, for Christmas and they are begging you to play with them.  They’ll be back at school and off to college and married before you know it.  Play me!  Play me!
And the closet pipes up from the other side: clean me!  You don’t want to play that boring old board game again.  Didn’t you already play it fourteen times yesterday?  You finally have a free day.  Why not get a little organization in your life and go through these boxes and papers and whatever else has clogged me up for so long?  Clean me!  Clean me!
(In my world, there is usually also copious yelling from the laundry: wash me!  And the pantry: cook me!  And the floor: scrub me!  Etc.)

But in the silence of winter, when life slows to the speed of a snowflake, I have no problem choosing which shoulder to turn to.  As much as I would like to someday see the floor of my office or choose a clean shirt from a hanger instead of a clothes basket, I would much rather not pass up a chance to lay on the floor by a fire and school my kids in a board game.  Time flies whether you’re having fun or cleaning your closet.

Originally written/published 12/21/14.

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