Saturday morning. I’m trying not to squander the precious little time I have to get things done. Friends are coming over for dinner tonight and I’ve got to get the house in order. Outside, I’ve swept the walkway leading to the front door. I’ve raked and bagged up piles of endlessly proliferating leaves. Inside, I’ve wiped countertops and cleared off the dining room table. As I vacuum the rug in the foyer, I glance into the dining room and see that the kids have undone my work by piling mugs of hot cocoa, sticky candy canes, dirty napkins, and scattered books all over the table.
“NO!” I bray over the roar of the vacuum cleaner. A casual observer might look at the expression on my face and reasonably conclude that I’ve just witnessed the clubbing of a baby seal. “I JUST cleaned that table off. Clean up that mess!”
“We WILL, I promise! Just let us finish,” my daughter pleads.
I’m about to insist, when I pause for a minute and see. I turn off the vacuum cleaner and get my camera to record this moment. Because this, not the bags of leaves, not the once-spotless dining room table, not the dinner that we’ll have later, this is the most important thing that will happen today, and I want to remember it.