For the past few days, I’ve been roaming around the house seeing the clutter. The piles. The mess. The extra.

The stuff we should have discarded, or donated, or packed up years ago. The too-small clothes that are still hanging in the closets. The toys that have collected dust because they haven’t been touched in who knows how long.

In every room. In every closet. There is something that needs tended to.

Honestly, it was starting to overwhelm me. Because it’s hard to make time, isn’t it? As much as we want the Pinterest-worthy home with the Pinterest-worthy closets and the organized spaces with the pretty baskets and decked-out shelves, that isn’t always life is it?

Life sometimes looks like heaps and piles that we just can’t quite get to because other things have taken priority.

Life sometimes looks like endless loads of laundry in endless cycles and dishes stacked in the sink waiting for their turn in the dishwasher.

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Life sometimes looks like a garage filled with bins we need to go through, but for the meantime will just stay put.

Because in this time. In this space. In this moment I find myself in . . . 

There are other things that have taken priority. There are other things taking my time.

And that’s OK.

The other day, when I was having one of these moments of anxiety as I looked at all the stuff in my daughter’s room, something hit me hard. Square in the face with such force it could have knocked me back onto her bed.

Two years . . . that’s how long I have with this stuff.

That’s how long until she will start packing boxes to cart off with her to whatever college she attends.

That’s how long the closet will be filled with the clothes she wears down the stairs each morning, groggy-eyed, as she prepares for another day at school.

And then two years after that, another will go. And then another. And then another.

And so much of this stuff will go with them.

But even more than that. What will go with them. What I will miss. What I will long for . . . is their daily presence. The good mornings. The goodnights. The hugs. The kisses. The time spent daily in our home. Together.

When they pack their stuff to do what all kids must do. To find their own way in their own place and their own space, their daily presence will leave the home, too.

I decided at that moment, I’m not going to worry so much about the stuff anymore. Not when we are inching so close to the time for them to go. It will sort itself out. It will eventually be rummaged through and packed up. It eventually will go.

For now, I will focus on what is here, with me, under this roof. Because I know without a shadow of a doubt these next two years will pass by so fast. And all of the two more years after that until we watch our baby walk out the door.

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The clutter and the piles and the closets with the too-small clothes and the rooms with the toys that are untouched almost got the better of me this week.

But not anymore.

I’m making peace with the clutter.

Because it’s a reminder of what’s here and the time we have. And that someday in the not-so-distant future, the stuff will go.

And when it does, she will go with it.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

Jennifer Thompson

Jennifer Thompson is a freelance writer, preschool art teacher and mother of four with a heart for Jesus. Her work can be found on a number of blogs and parenting publications. Recently relocated from Indianapolis to Nashville, Tennessee. She is a passionate storyteller and believes every person has an important story to tell. We grow when we share. And even more when we listen.