But this year, Christmas has left me in pieces.
They are everywhere.
Playmobil pieces, Lego bricks, magnet dress up sets, craft kits...you name it, it's spread from one end of our house to the other.
To make matters worse, it appears as though the more pieces a toy has, the more my children love to play with it. Everywhere. In every room of the house. Which of course means that of that 384-piece toy my kids love, those 384 pieces will never again all be in the same room, let alone bucket, basket or handy storage container that came with said toy again. Ever.
I enter the following photographs into evidence. I take full responsibility, as many of these gifts were supplied by my very own hands. Please note, none of these photos have been staged or altered in anyway. This is just my real, live, post-Christmas house. Don't judge.
Exhibit A: Angry Birds Pirate Ship
This game works just like the app. You're supposed to build a pirate ship, complete with pigs nestled in random nooks and crannies, then send the Angry Bird (on overturned car picture above) up the ramp to knock it down. Here is the problem. It's supposed to break down easily, which means it pretty much breaks every time we try to set it up. Hence the pile of pieces on the living room floor. Thanks, Santa.
Exhibit B: Art Kit
This picture does not do this art kit justice. It came with stamps, stickers, paint, more stickers, crayons, markers, foam pieces, and more stickers. Pieces.
Please note the handy dandy storage container next to the crayons and markers. Quite effective, isn't it? Yes, Santa, thanks again.
Exhibit C: Calico Critters Schoolhouse
Just imagine every single, little piece a mouse would need for school. Books, pencils, desks, even a graduation cap and gown. Yup, it's all there. All of it.
Exhibit D: Fire Truck Play Set
Apparently, this toy company was not satisfied with merely a fire truck. Absolutely not. It needed to add some more pieces...like 42 street signs, some random cans and portions of the truck that can be removed. It's almost like the fire already happened, and just left a path of destruction behind.
Exhibit E: Legos
This is only the tip of the iceberg. It represents about 1/100 of the Lego pieces we now have in our house, after all the Legos my kids received for Christmas this year have now combined with the Legos that were already in our house. I think they've been somehow secretly reproducing at night.
(Honestly, what I love most about this picture is that the Legos are in my daughter's room, on her night stand. Like it was the very last thing she did before dozing off to sleep.)
Exhibit F: Nativity Set
Baby Jesus, I love you. I really, really love you. And I love your birthday. But even your set up comes with pieces, pieces and more pieces!
Exhibit G: Reindeer Bead Kit
This one takes the cake. Right there on the package, it boasts '225 beads,' like it's a good thing. 225 beads. 225 pieces. All over my kitchen floor, about 14 different times over Christmas vacation, as my kids loved to start this project and still have yet to complete it.
And just for good measure...
Some rogue Playmobil Knights, planning their next attack from under my son's bed.
Learning to Love the Little Pieces
Even though this Christmas has left me in pieces, there is a little part of me that actually loves it, just a little bit.
(That part would not be my feet. They hate it. They have stepped on just about every type of teeny tiny toy possible in the last 10 days.)
The part of me that loves it, loves it because all those millions of pieces all over my house actually mean some pretty great things.
It means that my kids are playing. Even better, they are playing with each other.
It means that they are using their imaginations.
It means that in order to leave those piles of pieces behind, they had to not be parked in front of a TV screen, a computer screen or an iPad screen.
It means that there are lots and lots of people in my kids' lives that love them, and give them lots of things with lots of little pieces.
It means that my kids are still kids, and they still love to play with toys.
It means that these memories of millions of little tiny pieces all over the place are mine. All mine. They can never be taken away. Even when my kids have outgrown toys for electronic devices; even when they're out with their friends more than home with me; even when they're off at college and not living here at home with me. I will think back to these memories of millions of pieces.
And that, without a doubt, will leave me in pieces.
No matter how many pieces are strewn throughout your house at any given moment, You Are a Good Mom.