Last Updated on March 19, 2018

It was late Thursday afternoon. It had been a long day and I was very ready for my husband to walk in the door so I could have some back-up help with our three busy children.

Silas, my three-year-old, walked up to me with a bottle of nail polish and excitedly asked if he could paint my nails. He’s seen his girly-girl sister paint my nails before and I guess he thought it looked like something he would enjoy doing for me, as well.

I appreciated his sweet sentiment, but I could only picture nail polish splattered all over the floor, all over his clothes, and all over me. After a long day, the thought of scrubbing all that mess up was very unappealing.

But I couldn’t resist his blue eyes looking up and pleading at me. So I told him to go get an old towel, we laid it out underneath us, and he carefully started painting my nails.

Of course, his definition of “careful” included getting lots of finger nail polish in lots of places other than my fingernails, but watching him bent over and putting forth so much effort to serve me touched me deeply. All of a sudden, I didn’t care about the fingernail polish splatters or the fact that I was going to have to do a lot of scrubbing with polish remover to get all of the nail polish off my hands.

None of that mattered as I sat there soaking up my precious little boy. A boy who loves his mama dearly. A boy who delights in serving me. A boy who won’t be little for long. A boy who some day soon will have much more important things to do than spend a long time trying to get his mama’s nails painted just right.

It was a very special memory — one that I will treasure for years to come. And I’m so glad I said yes to what seemed like it would be a big mess. It made me wonder how many times I’ve missed out on beautiful memory-making because I was too concerned about the mess it would make? How many times have I stifled their creativity or spoiled a perfect opportunity for fun because I was more concerned about my house staying clean or keeping our clothes stain-free?

Sure, there was some clean-up required after the nail-painting incident, but it didn’t take anywhere near as long as I thought it would. And there weren’t any permanent stains left behind, only a trail of precious memories.

I’m so grateful I said yes to a seeming mess. It was every bit worth it!

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  1. Messes do indeed make the best memories. And I’ve even let my girls do an assortment of colors…a different one for each toe! Be jealous! LOL

  2. This is wonderful! I love the picture of your nails. How sweet.

  3. I LOVE this story. Our little boys won’t be little for long, and these are such sweet memories. Good for you, fellow Type A for doing this!

  4. That is so sweet! And a great reminder!

  5. Robin Lindsay says:

    I love this story Crystal!! Just a reminder to us all to Stop to smell the roses!! Cause we all know they won’t be there forever! Thanks for letting us into your families lives!

  6. Elizabeth Kane says:

    Loved the way you told this story, Crystal. I want to think of my daily life more like that. Great memories are made in those little decisions where we take the time to appreciate the moment we’re in. Here’s to saying yes to more messes – where learning, love, and laughter live!

  7. A wonderful reminder. Thank you Crystal!

  8. That is absolutely precious. I try to say yes as much as possible. Thanks for the reminder. :<)

  9. Crystal – I particularly like this post. Accepting times of discomfort and chaos is an important part of life. I’m not very good at it. But I’m slowly improving.

    I like to think that parts of who I am, parts of me are messy. Some of what I do is messy. Just ask my boss 😉

    I also like how you highlight the lenses we adults use to see the world. The prettier things are the better they are. If something is more organized it has more value.

    An elderly friend told me something interesting about parenthood this week. ‘When we raise children we often try to make them like us, but forget to allow ourselves to become more like them.’

  10. Frame that picture!!!!!

  11. I think it delight’s God’s heart so much when we stop & enjoy our kids in their “childish” moments. Their interests and mental processes are so far-removed from ours as parents, and it can be draining to give them the attention they constantly ask us for! But sometimes, just 5-10 minutes can be the difference between feeling overwhelmed or feeling blessed.

  12. I love your writing, Crystal. You are such an encouragement to young mommas out there. God bless you, honey; this is exactly why mom’s should “say yes to the mess”. There is always a blessing in it.