Clearing the Slate


You know when the day gets squirrelly? It seems to happen in a blink of an eye sometimes. All of a sudden everyone is on everyone else’s nerves. The house seems too small, too cluttered, too close. We all have our tricks for dealing with these times. Usually I send the boys outside to play, or send myself outside to walk. But some days this is not feasible or efficacious for whatever reason. During those times, I try really, really hard not to exacerbate the situation with talking (ummm . . . yelling) or finger-pointing. I try hard not to hide in the bathroom. I also try hard not to bust into that bottle of Prosecco that seems to stare at me whenever I open the refrigerator door. Instead, I clear the kitchen table.

Our kitchen table is the mirror of our day. In addition to the many meals eaten there, it also is home to the day’s projects, reading material, correspondence and the various flotsam and jetsam that accompanies all these activities and more. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, if our day is going south, the table is a mess. This is one of those divine mysteries of homemaking that I don’t choose to grapple with. I merely accept it as truth and proceed to take action. I remove everything currently on the table (trying not to just dump it all on the counter), wipe it off, light a couple candles, add flowers if there are any around, and presto! I feel like I have been given a clean slate.

This little domestic ritual can totally change my mood. So while the boys may still be at each other, I am more settled and able to deal with them in a way that is able to smooth sharp edges and calm flared tempers. After cleaning off the kitchen table, my next step is to make a snack plate, go in the living room, clear that table and light some candles in there too. Then I plop down in my chair and start knitting. I have admitted before in this space that I don’t like to knit, but both my boys do. If I sit down with my knitting, they will sit down with theirs. It calms them, centers them and pushes restart. We all have a little snack and move on with the day.

I would love to know how you change course in the middle of one of those days. Leave a comment and/or a link and tell us all about it.

6 thoughts on “Clearing the Slate

  1. I’m picturing the Petruccelli men smelling a fleshly lit candle and, in a Pavlovian way, hunkering down and staying out of Mom’s way. But it’s cute how you think the cleared kitchen table is doing the trick. I’m joking, of course, mainly because I’m jealous you’ve figured out an approach that settles you down when you feel the storm clouds brewing. We all do, I suppose, feel the clouds but not all of us have the self control mechanisms to turn it around. I’m thinking about getting some candles.

  2. I try to get outside, breathe the air, listen to the birds (or this time of year sit on the porch and listen to the rain) and move a little. Or just watch bad reality tv or an hour or so.

  3. Pingback: August Break Photos: 8/12 – 8/15 | Sure as the World

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