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I'm Not Complaining

I hate to clean. In fact, I'm very good at complaining about cleaning. Considering I spend a good deal of my time at home, however, I'm expected to do just that - clean. Of course, I exercise my right to mutter my objections to whatever inanimate object happens to be nearby, especially when scraping legos out of the carpet. But today, as I was cleaning my kids' rooms (boys, by the way, are notoriously and consistently messy), I discovered a new emotion related to this ritual: thankfulness.

Just like every mother of school-aged children, I took the Newtown shootings hard. I cry at least once a day from the depths of my belly, aching over the loss these families have faced. The senseless acts of a lunatic has taken 26 beautiful souls from this earth for no reason. It boggles the sensible minds of the rest of us.

So, today, as I was straightening up beds (that should have been made this morning), stooping (for the hundredth time) to pick up clothes strewn on the floor and, yes, prying loose legos from the soles of my feet (again), I was thankful. Thankful that my children returned home yesterday to mess up the rooms I had dutifully cleaned for them that same day; thankful that I have the chance to pick up after them, scrub the jelly off their faces, change their still-warm sheets they just crawled out of and hug their sleepy bodies in the morning.

I bent to pick up my youngest son's teddy bear that was lying forgotten in the middle of his floor. He would want it tonight when he slept. I hugged the teddy bear tight to my chest and teared up, thinking of all the teddy bears left behind by the beautiful children in Newtown and the parents who must, at some point, return them forever to an empty bed.

During my silent prayer before returning teddy to his rightful place on my son's comforter, I prayed for those parents. I prayed for those first responders. And I prayed for the reminder of how precious time with these little angels is.

Now, I'm off to scrape whatever that sticky goo is on my children's bathroom floor (I've learned not to ask too many questions) and then I'll have to get on my hands and knees to scrub their smelly toilet. But, I'm not complaining. Not any more. Not ever again.

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