My son opened the freezer and willingly helped himself to some gluten-free bread, whilst I was helping my youngest two get ready for the day. I was happy that he independently went and grabbed the bread out of the freezer, until I rounded the corner. I saw the bread crumbs, oh the bread crumbs. Without gluten, bread falls apart like soft clay in the hands of an amateur. Strewn across the floor; the crumbs told a subtle story of where he had been. My heart dropped as I followed the trail. Hansel and Gretel’s trail deep deep into the woods, but instead I was following the trail into the recesses of my house.
He had been in the kitchen eating, stopped to find something in the drawer. I could tell he had emptied both cupboards, then danced his way to the bathroom. I saw he had gone potty, tried wiping himself, took off his shirt and moved on. He had settled in the bedroom to play Lego’s and the gluten free bread had crumbled even more.
There he sat intently, criss-crossed legs, blue eyes on his project, eating his gluten-free bread.
The trail told a story, a story of: humanity.
Eyeing all the mess, I brushed the soft hair of his fuzzy little head and gave out a deep sigh. As I eyed the damage, I quickly realized that his mess was like fairy dust, sprinkled to tell a story, a real-life, living breathing story called: motherhood.
On one side, I was crumbling. Exhausted. The mess was overwhelming. It was everywhere. It was the hurricane of young children, the constant screaming, the sleepless nights, the headaches, the little bodies that left trails of stuff to unknowingly to be picked up. There were the cupboards that were continually emptied, the toys that were thrown, and the small little breadcrumbs left all over every room for me to sweep up.
But, more meaningful than that, I focused on something that I had never seen before: the mess was the magic that breathed something beautiful into this lonely house: life.
A little life had been here, and it was telling a story. A little life had danced his way from one room to the next, helping himself to some food, his little thoughts causing him to leave all the contents of the drawers out, bravely taking the liberty to wipe himself while mom was busy, feeding himself, becoming independent, and lastly focused whole-heartedly on something to do: legos.
It was the breadcrumbs of this little person that touched the dreary solitude of each room. The bread crumbs that whispered childhood on each cleanly swept floor. It was the breadcrumbs that marked its territory in the recesses of my heart.
The small gestures he continually offered me. The smile that quickly drew across his face when he looked in my eyes. The HUGE bear hugs, and silly gestures that woke me up at 5:30 every morning. The little boy that’s sensitivity to others continually inspired me. His thoughtfulness, his “helper” mentality, and most of all his love for his: mama.
The life that has touched me so deeply. The breadcrumbs that signal this life. A messy life, imperfect, subtle, and leaving their touches on every room. Why would I focus on the breadcrumbs? When the mess told a bolder story of humanity, small marks made over long periods of time on this house. Dishes cracked, broken toys, markers on the wall. A soft and beautiful paradoxical statement of motherhood. As I follow the little trails of breadcrumbs, I smile because you my little boy have left a physical trail in my home, but an eternal trail on my heart.