I’ll clean up after your parties, because I want to.

The clock says that I’m up late as I scowl and continue my cleaning. The dust pan becomes crowded with memories of fun. Birthday present opening and card flinging to get to the good part. The singing , the cake , the laughter and smiles all left a residue on my kitchen floor.

The streamers and lights remain , but you lay asleep in your bed. In no need of me to rock you, as your Daddy did that tonight. Your last night being a baby. Tomorrow you will turn two, and I will grow along with you.

My heart will grow as you do , sweet baby. To love you more , and to leave room for all of the future parties I’ll be cleaning up from.

As I scraped the last slice of pizza off of the last plate to wash , I smiled. And I prayed I could clean up after many more parties of your life.

I envisioned myself cleaning up after your 16th birthday party. In your fancy dress, you hurried up the staircase to share secrets with your best friends. Your father and I thankful you didn’t have a boyfriend yet … Sighed and left the clean up for tomorrow. For tonight you were 16 and free. We felt your freedom and left all the dishes for another time.

My mind wandered to your graduation party , how proud we were speaking in front of dear friends and family about your precious life . The Godly choices you made throughout high school, and your academic achievements. If you’re anything like your Mom, which you are.. You’ll be grateful it’s over, and ready for your next step. Your Dad will be holding back the tears as he sees you receive your diploma. I’ll be proud, but mostly relieved for you. And proud you got there on time. Unlike your Mother on her graduation day.

I can’t wait to clean up the tissue paper and left over mints from your bridal shower. You offering to help me , while I assure you your father will help. You insisting to stay because you know he doesn’t know his way around the kitchen. We laugh as we clean, and I pour us a glass of red wine. The wine we didn’t break out at the party because we didn’t want to offend your fiancées great Aunt Sally who is a strict no alcohol 92 year old woman. We giggle as we sip and you help me wipe the rest of the cake frosting off of my counter top. We embrace when the last spoon is put away, and you cry on my shoulder. Happy tears come forth as you speak of your husband to be . We rejoice and more wine is poured. We talk late into the night, and you journey up to your room. One of your last nights under our roof. You savor it.

Your first baby shower comes and goes in a flash. I see every wrinkle on your nose stating you are so very tired, and ready for people to stop making a big deal out of baby socks. You could care less about who gave what as you just want to put your feet up , and order yourself a large pepperoni pizza. Eat it in your bathtub , while enjoying a foot rub by your husband. This is not too much to ask , so I end the party sooner than expected. You grin at me, knowing I’ve read your mind and we leave the mess of blue baby socks and tiny baby shoes to sleep on the floor for the night. Clean up can happen later because right now my grandson is kicking my hand. The same hands that cleaned up from your first birthday party.

Your second, third, fourth, fifth … And all the way up until you are through having parties. I’ll always be there to clean up the celebration of your success in this life. Because I’ve prayed for you to live life abundantly. With freedom and deep joy.

So tonight as I’m stuffing tissue paper in a trash bag , that all the world tells me to save … I’m thinking of the woman you are becoming . Right before my eyes you are maturing into who you are meant to be.

A fabulous , gorgeous daughter you are. I’m ready for more parties to clean up after. Because I love the mess, only because I love you.

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