[image description: light wood floor with a gray floor vent along a gray wall with a white baseboard. In the background, the baseboard is newly-painted and bright white, and in the foreground, the baseboard is dull and has multiple places where it is scuffed and the paint has been chipped away.]

I spent the past two weekends
scrubbing baseboards and repainting
after too many years of trying to ignore
dings and scrapes and marks,

not to mention the damage
caused those couple of winters
years ago when we let the kids ride their
big wheels in the house,

because big wheels were fun
and a great way to burn off
inexhaustible excess energy when
it was too cold and gross outside

or I just didn’t have the energy to go
through the exercise of requiring outdoor play
and dealing with the resulting pile of
wet winter clothes that would generate.

So there were days and evenings filled with
the laughter of two boys riding big wheels
around the kitchen table, racing, scratching
up the floor, chipping baseboards.

Boys now more calm and mostly grown,
no more racing about the house
and I relish the quieter days and evenings,
while glad we welcomed indoor racing and

kitchen sink bubble-making,
and all the other shenanigans we allowed
because messes can be cleared away
and baseboards can be repainted, eventually.

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