A Legend, A Bug, and a Disaster


The past month or so I have been doing some remodeling in my bedroom, which led me to decide I needed to declutter the entire house. You see, I’ve lived in this house for nearly 18 years. I haven’t moved from house to house so I haven’t dug out every closet and purged every cabinet the way a true Martha Stewart wannabe should. With Christmas around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to just do a major toss out.

Little did I know that one thing would lead to another and this project would take me nearly two months to complete. To make matters worse, one day my little grandbaby lost my cell phone just when the kitchen sink decided to leak and the dog chewed up a library book while I had made a pile of junk to get rid of in the front yard. I got really frustrated that day. I went into the laundry room, where the mountain lives, and tears started to pour out of my eyes. For a minute there I thought about quitting my job, but who would I give my letter of resignation to?

Dear washing machine, You’re on your own. Start if you want to, spin if you feel like it, rust for all I care…

The only problem was that I don’t have the lottery winnings to get me to the island in my dreams. What made matters worse was a knock at the door. In the midst of my messy hair and pajamas past noon and chewed up book on the floor and missing cell phone, who should appear?? Oh yes, my father. I’m not sure why, but I suddenly felt like a little kid in trouble for not making her bed- which ironically was the only thing I had managed to do.

I wanted to put up the Christmas tree, I wanted to deck the halls, but the last thing I wanted to do was give a guided tour to the disaster zone. I was feeling just a bit bah-humbugged. Then the most wonderful thing happened. Almost like the last scene of the Grinch movie, my heart swelled three sizes.

Blondie decided to just pitch in and help me finish my overhaul. She was so hard at work that her siblings joined in. Tucker scrubbed walls, Kailynn cleaned her scary closet, the boys cleaned rooms and bathrooms and by the end of the night it was like months of worry had ended.

I’m perfectionist at heart. I want things a certain way. Having 7 kids forced me to give up a bit. Nothing can be perfect in a house this busy, but when it’s a disaster zone, I lay in bed at night making lists in my head, assigning myself tasks to do. I’ve finally made peace with the fact that my visions won’t fully come to life until these kids get a little older and the grocery bill gets a little lower, but I have this imaginary line I try not to cross, and I was way past it.

After the kids helped me tackle this disaster zone, I felt so relieved, and proud, and happy- truly happy to live in my humble home. It was like living on a cloud. I even cooked a big dinner and celebrated.

A few days later my mom took me to see a legend!!!  The one and only Dolly Parton in Austin, Texas!!!!  I was so sad and proud at the same time because Blondie sacrificed her ticket to her Daddy. I’m not sure what has that daughter working overtime, but she did a truly kind thing for her father. He wanted to go so bad, and I never even thought he’d think twice about it, but she didn’t think twice- she just gave him her ticket- which might have been a once in a lifetime chance!

I wish Blondie had been there because I know how inspired she always gets when she goes to a show, and to see a legend like that would have been so amazing, but when you’ve been through a few bumps in the road with one of your kids, and then you see them come out the other side stronger and kinder, exuding with generosity, well, it’s melting my heart in the best of ways. I don’t think I will ever forget her acts of kindness these past few weeks. We sat at nearly the very top of the Frank Irwin Center, the ultimate nosebleed seats, and still we saw an amazing show and I got a few spectacular pictures!  I love her story, and how she came from a poor family full of nothing but love, and how she knew she’d shine her way to stardom. I like to believe my Blondie will do the same…

By the next morning I had some kind of flu bug and spent the rest of the week in bed. I haven’t had fever like that since the last time I was pregnant. At least this time drugs  weren’t off limits (by drugs I mean Tylenol you gutter brains), but when I emerged today, I have to say the floors weren’t as shiny as I left them, and I think Hercules ate someone’s homework folder and at first glance it seemed like a disaster- but something had changed. Daddy said “Honey lay back down, I’ve got this” and I heard the scurry of little feet putting away one thing after another. I’m starting to think a New Year might bring us a whole new way of life. Now, if we can just make our way through Christmas… it’s all gonna be alright.

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