My son is talking about his desk. "It needs to be cleared before I can work efficiently."

I am thinking about clutter. I am not a hoarder. But I am a pack rat and my house doesn't make sense to anyone. Except me.

"I think I work better in clutter." I say.

"I've seen you, mom." He points to the counter, three inches deep in paper and cookbooks. "You work right here and are oblivious. I couldn't do that."

It's partly hiding.

The clutter distracts people. They are so busy thinking that I can't get anything done in the clutter and why do I have all this stuff and why don't I clean it up, that they don't see me. I am hiding in plain sight. I become entirely invisible. A single mother. She may be a good physician but she is a terrible housekeeper. Rather on purpose, that. I don't have anyone playing the role of housekeeper and honestly, it's always repelled me.

And why not get rid of it all?

A friend and her daughter come for Thanksgiving. The daughter, eight, helps with some of the cooking. "I'm bored." she announces.

"Hmmmm." I say. When we were kids, we'd be set to making the Thanksgiving Centerpiece. We would and could get very very elaborate. "Would you make place cards?"

"What is a place card?" she asks.

My daughter tries to explain. "Have you been to a wedding? No? To a big party? Well, there is a card at the table for each person that tells them where to sit."

I get the stamp sets out. My daughter finds card stock and spells out the names that she doesn't know how to spell. She makes an elaborate name card for each of us.

I get out the white tablecloth, plates, silverware.

"Now would you set the table? You can pick where each person sits. Put the card on their plate."

She sets the table slowly. She chooses the cloth napkins. She decides to wrap the silverware handles with the napkins and sets the name cards last.

It is beautiful.

She asks about the other stamps in the drawer, can she use them?


"She loves coming to your house." says her mother.

Yes. Clutter, but also magic and transformation and play.... hiding in plain sight.