I suppose it would sound more professional of me to ask, "What is on your desk?" or "What is on your iphone right now?" But let's face it, the comings and goings of this family are evidenced by what is on our countertops. There is always a pile or two of school papers, file folders containing the details of whatever project I am in the middle of, and all too often an overdue library book or two.
Before you picture my kitchen as a absolute mess though, I have to clarify. Yes, there are ALWAYS piles, but at least they CHANGE from day to day. One day I will have 200 homework pages to sift through and the next day I will be eye deep in books, plans and papers for our "Summer Skills" projects.
And I DO attempt to clear every thing away once a day. However,those piles have a sneaky way of creeping back in as soon as my kids come home from school and empty their folders and lunch boxes.
Amid the paper shuffling are the occassional treasures though. Like this morning when I asked what was in Andrew's crumpled up brown paper towel that I saw him dump from his back pack and quickly stash on the countertop last night. He sheepishly smiled and said, "Can I show you?" I am sure he meant, "Can you slow down for a second and pay attention to this."
"Yes." I replied after determining that we were only going to miss the first bell at school, not the second one.
He carefully unwrapped his paper towel to reveal a handful of rocks. "My friends and I were looking for fossils in the new rocks at school."
"That's neat, buddy." I answered him. My mind still distracted and elsewhere.
"Are they real Mom?" Andrew asked intently. "Are they really fossils."
His direct question finally pulled me into the present. And do you know what? When I took the time to really look at his smuggled rocks, there were three actual fossils in the bunch. He was so proud when I pointed them out. He promised he would put them away in a safe place in his room (most likely under his bed)as soon as he got home from school today.
So they have sat here all day. I haven't trashed them, threw them out on the driveway, or even disturbed them to clean under that tattered brown towel. They have been sitting here reminding me of all the reasons why I have so many piles on my counters. My kids, my projects, my family. They are what keep me so busy and crazy, but also so fulfilled.
I am grateful for the papers I need to sign, lunches to pack and rocks to examine. I am so grateful to have those piles in my life, and on my countertops too!