Building Fences, Building A Life: A Letter

Dear Fence Babe:

I'm sure you chuckled inwardly at the look on my face when I answered my front door, hastily and "in a dither."  I don't doubt my expression was one of graceless chagrin and absolute horror.  You see, I knew you had been in my backyard, working laboriously to build my pretty, new vinyl fence... I did not, however, expect to see you on my doorstep.  In your semi-fitted (I can't bring myself to write the word, "tight") t-shirt. And your bulging biceps.  Oh glory.

It wasn't my holey yoga pants I was embarrassed by, or even my wicked-cool bedhead.  I had remembered to remove my retainer and toss it on the living room chair before answering the door, so it wasn't that.  And it wasn't even the stray hairs on my chin needing to be plucked or the fact that I wasn't wearing any makeup that had me all "verklempt."


It was the fact that you apologetically and politely asked to use my bathroom.  That I hadn't cleaned all month!     

Oh my land, I was mortified!  Mortified as I let you walk on a floor that was sticky with melted Popsicle drippings.  Mortified as I pointed up stairs that needed to be vacuumed.  Mortified as I knew you would walk down a hall spotted with grimy fingerprints and baby boogers.  Mortified of the moment you would enter my bathroom and find a "science project" growing in the toilet!

"Mom, look at my painting!," my daughter shouted, interrupting my angst.

I turned and saw something starkly different than what you probably first perceived.  I saw my happy and cooing baby sitting on the floor, surrounded by toys we had played with together.  I saw my son, Camren, curled up on the couch--his beloved blue blankie draped loosely across his shoulders.  He was looking through a stack of picture books; books I had read to him before lunchtime.  I saw Lilly perched at the kitchen table, waving a painted picture of a rainbow through the air.  Art supplies were strewn about the floor and counter--evidence of our craft time soiree.

I saw contentment.

You flushed the toilet and left the house and went back to work like a stud muffin.  I walked over to where Lilly sat and looked down at her rainbow.  It was drippy and wet, and some of the colors were running together.  It was bright.  Imperfect.  Beautiful.

I realized something in that very real, messy, and honest moment.  I am like that painting.  Drippy and imperfect--the shades of my responsibilites running together like water color, running off the pages of my life's work.  Unorganized blues and frustrated and impatient reds.  Hectic and busy oranges colliding with yellow obligations that are not always so cheerful and sunny.  It is crazy.  It is all a mess.

But it is really, really beautiful.

Because you see, Fence Babe, it's all mine.  My life.  My kids.  My home.  My painting.  And beneath all the blurry lines, the smudging, and the imperfections you'll find children who are safe, supported, and loved.  You'll find a home that provides emotional security and spiritual warmth.  You'll find a family.  A family mustering the strength to do the best they can. 

A family fighting for joy.

Thank you for your muscle tees and for all your hard work,
Mama Leisha



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