The Living Room

The Living Room

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reader's Choice 20th Anniversary Edition

The Living Room

Kids spell love T-I-M-E.

~John Crudele

When I read the poem called “The Play’s the Thing” in Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul, I realized my life was very similar to that of the author, Jayne Jaudon Ferrer. Every day was a routine for me. I cleaned, cooked, and spent time on chores that didn’t have to be done at that very moment.

I had always been so paranoid that someone would come over and see shoes on the floor, books off their shelves and toys everywhere that I was cleaning at the expense of my son. He would throw a ball at me while I was washing dishes and I wouldn’t even react. While I was vacuuming, my son would hold up his bear and make those adorable baby talk noises. Did I put the vacuum down? No. I said, “Oh what a pretty bear,” and continued disinfecting my home.

After I read the poem one night when William, my son, was asleep, I teared up and resolved to change. It wasn’t that easy. The next day, I forced myself not to pick up the two toys he brought into the living room, not to hover over him with a mop smelling of floor cleaner in case of spills, and not to insist that he eat his snack in our designated eating spot. Instead, I played trucks, danced with him in a circle in the living room, and made a mess baking brownies for him. It was a great day.

So now, every day, we play bears or trucks, dance to Lady Gaga, and just have fun. At night, when he is asleep, I clean like nobody’s business. I have also discovered that just because there are a couple of shoes in the wrong place, or some toys are scattered in my living room, it doesn’t mean our house is dirty. It just means that we are actually living here.

~Brittany Perry

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