When it comes to household cleanliness, I tend to think I’m pretty high up there. The kitchen is clean, the bathrooms get cleaned regularly, and the dishes never sit in the sink ‘soaking’ for more than 24 hours. With the grand exception of dusting (which I loathe), my house is clean.
But somehow my bathroom mirror is dirty. It has been for months. And I have no plans to clean it anytime soon.
Every night I sit and look at the mirror, quite sure that I may not actually wash it until we move out of this house (if ever). One night, a few months ago, as our daughter was learning to use her legs, my husband stood her up on our bathroom counter and she banged on the mirror with all of her might as she took in her beautiful reflection. That night she left her tiny little handprints on our mirror and I haven’t washed it since.
Some may call this laziness, but as the days and weeks drag on and the mirror remains unwashed, that mirror teaches me more and more. The mirror teaches me to slow down, to take in the sweet little ways that our daughter leaves her mark on our home. It teaches me that she’s already growing up too fast (8 months old tomorrow?!) and her little hands are growing bigger with each day.
Even more, that mirror is changing how I look at life. As I mentioned, I like things to be clean. I feel comforted and in control when things are orderly, put in their place, and tidy. I find beauty in cleanness. But as I get ready in the morning and look at her handprints on our mirror, I see that life can – and is – so beautiful through the smudges. Life doesn’t have to be perfectly clean and ordered to be beautiful. In fact, some of life’s most beautiful moments are seen through the smudges, lived in the mess, and appreciated precisely because everything wasn’t planned out or put in its place.
Her little handprints – tiny and on a mirror that hasn’t been cleaned in months – are teaching me to see the beauty beyond and in the mess, to see that even when my plans for life get smudged, there’s joy and happiness to be found.