I spent the day in silence.

Today was the first day my kids had school since January 20th. That’s twelve days, for anyone counting. Twelve snow days, only about half of which had actual snow, but during which my house was inundated with the constantly shedding clothing that come with three-to-five children, their coats, mittens, boots and the muddy paws of a giant dog who discovered he loves snow.

It’s been melting for days, and while there are piles of gritty grey road snow on the edges of the road, the yard and walkways are soggy, sodden messes. There is mud everywhere.

Children deposited at their respective schools, I put the dog in the pokey and started the process of digging out. There is something soothing about a silent house with only the ticking of the cuckoo clock and the churning washing machine keeping me company.

No music, no tv, no video games in the background, and not even the dog underfoot, I carefully went about the task of sorting the coats, boots, and scarves. The warm laundry slowly piled up on my bed, and I didn’t hurry as I vacuumed the corners of the stairs and under the entry way table. While I like a clean house as much as the next person, I long ago gave up any notion of perfection. Good enough is good enough for me. It keeps me sane.

I love the way the cherry floors gleam when they’re clean— but I also love the way the pile of backpacks and books, lunch boxes and dog toys and stray bits of melting, muddy snow, show people really live here. This isn’t a showplace. It’s a home.

My clean floors and quiet lasted about an hour, before the first kid arrived home. It was a nice hour. But so are the ones that follow…

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