The cookie jar is empty.

The laundry, piled six loads high on the dryer and the boys won’t sit through homeschool. I didn’t sleep well last night and I haven’t had my coffee and all I can think about is needing to make those cookies. Because what kind of mother doesn’t have cookies in her cookie jar?

I am constantly failing Pinterest’s Martha Stewart standards. I don’t have a chalkboard with tonight’s menu on it — goodness, I don’t even have meat thawing, and it’s day-old Chinese for lunch. Again.

I’m rushing the boys, yelling, taking my pent-up mother-guilt on them, forgetting that home is not a casserole or color-coded towels or clean toilets. 

Home is mommy’s arms, is Daddy wrestling with his sons on the floor, is a stack of board books piled precarious on the coffee table because your two-year-old is addicted to building towers.

Home is poop on your pajamas because your son pooped in his and it somehow transferred, and you only realize this when you’re reading Thomas the Train for the second time to them that morning and you still haven’t had a shower. 

Home is sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor and pulling your boys to you with tears in your eyes and begging them to forgive you for getting stressed out over an empty cookie jar.

Because your life is beautifully full.

And you sit there for awhile, a tangle of arms and hearts.

And then you decide to bake cookies together. All three of you in aprons, the boys on the counter, eating chocolate chips and crushing egg shell into the dough and it goes a lot slower this way. And the cookies are a lot crunchier.

Life is the thing that happens when you stop pinning pictures long enough to look up and find a pair of big blue eyes staring at you, asking you “to come and watch me, Mommy!”

My house is not Pinnable. It’s messy, with peanut-butter fingerprints and toy cars and runny noses. And you know what? To me, it’s perfect.

Because it’s the family that makes the picture, not the frame.