Teresa M. Pelham
9:42 AM EDT, August 30, 2013
A series of connected cardboard boxes has occupied the foyer in my house for several months. There’s a cardboard chimney, several signs warning visitors not to enter (or loiter or hover or otherwise annoy its owner.) We trip over it and vacuum around it and it’s been there so long that we hardly notice it anymore.
It’s my youngest son’s “house,” created from a box that once contained a gas grill. Over time, he’s made additions and renovations, and I’m pretty sure there’s some important stuff underneath, although I’m kind of afraid to look.
It’s really only when visitors ask about it that I give it a second thought. And then, when I say “Oh, that’s just Carter’s house,” most of our friends and family know him well enough to just laugh and move on.
Creative kids are messy. And that’s something with which I’ve made peace over the years. Carter is artistic: He can make the best freehand paper snowflakes in town. But you know where this is going, right? Throughout November and December, tiny bits of paper can be found on every horizontal surface. Yep, it’s a mess, but the benefit is that we get a marvelously decorated holiday home, and, more importantly, a content and fulfilled child.
I like things relatively neat. I like a clean kitchen counter. Backpacks and shoes belong in the closet. A good portion of my day is spent asking my kids to put their things away.Being the parent of a creative kid has meant changing my priorities. I’ll still never be OK with glue on the kitchen table, but I’ve come pretty far.