My next sofa will have cushions that cannot be removed. But since any new furniture is most likely 10 to 15 years away, possibly eight with good behavior, I’ve decided to make my peace with the fact that our couch cushions will continue to spend an equal amount of time strewn across our carpet than squarely where their craftsmen intended.

My children know it drives me bonkers, but they can’t help themselves. Removing sofa cushions is all too tempting. Huge, semi-firm squares and rectangles, building blocks on steroids with such possibilities! Only someone with zero imagination would limit their use to mere seating.

That’s me. Miss Zero Imagination.

They use the pads for forts, sure. That’s a given. But they also use them for lilly pads, runway catwalks, shields, falling boulders, mini trampolines, American Gladiator-esque weapons, punching bags, you name it. It will be something new tomorrow.

I’m not sure why couch cushions that are not on the couch bothers me so much. Could it be I strongly dislike the mess removing the cushions reveals? The cheese stick wrappers stuffed down between the cushions on the sly, the crumbs, the crayons, the lost remote, I’d really rather let sleeping dogs lie. And yes, if we had a dog, we might find him under there too.

Maybe it’s because there is nothing that makes a freshly vacuumed, clean family room (clean except for under the cushions) look so dirty so fast than pressing the detonate button on a sofa and coordinating love seat.

Or it could be the dramatically increased likelihood of somebody coming out of the fray in tears, possibly with a bloody nose or worse. We haven’t met our deductible yet.

Then not long ago I read a little cross-stitched pearl of wisdom that helped to shift my attitude about the constant barrage of forts and lily pads. It read:

“Please excuse the mess. My children are building memories.”

It instantly took me back to the Christmas the Wii first came out and how my husband and I deliberated a good long while whether to make a video gaming system that year’s Christmas morning wow-factor. We ultimately decided no. The games looked genuinely fun, no clean up required, but no. And we’ve made the same call every Christmas morning since.

We have our reasons for saying no video games, but that’s another post for another day. The point is, I decided then and there to embrace the mess. Saying no to screen time means saying yes to the mess. And that includes forts.

When I think about it, the days I suction cup the “Sorry, We’re Closed” sign onto the television, those are the days the toy chests vomit, the sofa pads get repurposed, book spines require more tape, and the amount of Legos on the basement floor strongly resembles the confetti mess found on the streets of Times Square January 1st.

If that’s the price of good childhood memories, well, I guess I’ll pay it. “Fix the couches” is now an actual category on the chore chart. I may have zero imagination but I can guess what the future looks like. All too soon my baby in diapers will toss his keys on the dresser after work and wonder what’s for dinner, the Legos will hibernate in the Sterilite tub, anxiously awaiting the birth of grandchildren, and the couch cushions will stay squarely, securely, exactly where they are, with no one with any sort imagination to do anything other than sit on the them.

Perhaps by then it will be safe to get a dog.

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