Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Helena Rodriguez: Sometimes mess sign of life, happiness


September 1, 2015

Guest Columnist

Mom saw the spilled nail polish on our bedroom carpet and almost broke into tears.

“Helen!” she screamed. This was only the beginning. I was a little goat, she said.

Next, she spotted the gooey chocolate syrup on our play dish cabinet.

This isn’t the best, nor is it the worst description of my bedroom when I was growing up.

I shared my bedroom with my sisters, Becky and Julie (Yolanda and Crisanta came later). We were messy but happy kids, but it was a chore within a chore to get the room into an acceptable health-code standard.

Are people with messy homes happier than people with perfectly tidy homes? Are people with perfectly tidy homes less miserable than people with, not-so-tidy homes?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a slob. In fact, in my adult life, I’ve become a perfectionist, at least a wannabe perfectionist. I still have visions of Mom yelling at me.

I cannot leave my home unless my bed is made. If I don’t, I feel unorganized; a if my life is going to fall apart. And after living alone for more than a year, I had the hardest time adjusting to my daughter and her husband and my two grandbabies (4 and 18 months) living with me.

I sometimes walk into the living room and see toys and dishes scattered everywhere and want to pull out my hair.

But then I recently came across a Facebook posting by Maria Tarkany, a mom who has started her own Web site. After organizing a family room that had been taken over by her toddlers one night, she cried.

Not because the room was still messy. But because it was clean.

“I’m going to miss the asparagus, rice and carrots that fell from Joey’s highchair and mixed into the toys on the floor,” she wrote.

“It may look like a mess, but it is the 15 books Neva asked me to read them, the arts and crafts we made together.”

I thought about the toy bin in our living room overflowing, but hanging out of those bins are the little blankets I cut out from an old T-shirt for my granddaughter Gena’s dolls. I had watched her affectionately cover her baby dolls with them. And instead of seeing pokey Legos all over the floor, I saw Giovanni’s imagination at full steam.

There has to be some kind of organization to our mess, but there also has to be signs of life, a happy life, in our home.

Helena Rodriguez is a Portales native. Contact her at: [email protected]


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