The Magic is in the Mess
9 October 2013
Years ago, I listened to a man with Cerebral Palsy speak at a back-to-school convocation. He told a story about traveling to speak at conference for families who had a child with Downs’ Syndrome.
He arrived at a posh hotel around 8:00 in the evening. There was only one restaurant open. It was an elegant Italian restaurant. The maître d seated him.
Then, a family with a child with Downs Syndrome arrived. While the maître d showed them to their table, the child ran behind plucking the bud vases off of each table.
Shortly after that, another family showed up for dinner. The maître d escorted them to their table while their son held onto his leg. This gave the first child the opportunity to swipe the bud vases again.
That’s when, with his shirt hanging out of his cumberbund, the maître d gave up. Rather than worry about the white linens and his own appearance, the maître d turned the elegant reservation-only restaurant into family-style fun. For the rest of the week, he hosted the families. He packed children in and out of the restaurant piggyback style.
Because . . .the magic is in the mess.
In both my classroom and my family, I know that the magic is in the mess. It’s better to have fur on carpet, pasta sauce on the stovetop, and toothpaste spattered on the mirror than to be able to do open-heart surgery on my floor.
Timmy, a 15-year-old toothless mixed breed that lived with a veteran for most of his life, didn’t want to eat his mashed up wet food out of the bowl this afternoon. So, I set it on the table, put Timmy on my lap and hand fed him.
The magic is in the mess.