Yesterday I took the train back from a meeting in the city. The suburbs that I usually drive through looked different from the higher position of the train. The train weaves behind the suburban scenes yellowed by winter leaves. I mused about how I see this city anew from different forms of transport: biking, flying, walking, boating.

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of things in new light and I wonder if it’s my research on belonging that’s prompted this.


Let me explain: Despite the piles of books and papers and notes in my home office, I do like a tidy space. I work best in order, not chaos. If my office or my home feels cluttered, my head also feels scattered and cluttered. I usually do a quick tidy up after the girls get to school to focus me.

This week was different. This week I looked at the jumble of papers and little toys on the kitchen counters, and on the dining table, and the clothes splayed on the sofa and the floor like finger painting, and I didn’t run around tidying them. I looked at them and they looked at me and I thought: it’s not just clutter, it’s Love Clutter.

Love Clutter is a reminder that we’re surrounded by love. Little girl love, husband love, voracious slobbery springer spaniel love, any kind of love. And that’s exactly how I want my life to be: cluttered with love.



I learned something else this week and I learned it from my children. Tuesday after school, the girls ran outside to jump barefoot on the trampoline in the sunshine. I had just finished a quick rock climb and needed a shower. I also needed to look at the girls’ homework, schedule a doctor’s appointment, think about dinner and lunches for the next day and basically tick off a few items on the constant to-do list playing in my head. But I looked at the girls, laughing in the trampoline and thought, that looks like fun.

I walked across the grass in my socks.”Maman’s coming!”

We jumped and played and giggled and they rolled on top of me and threw themselves around as only children can. I jumped so they bounced like Mexican jumping beans and we played Duck Duck Goose in a tumbling tripping mess of growing arms and legs.

”This is the best day ever,” my six-year-old shouted.

After the trampoline, we squished into a bubble bath together and played mermaids with their dolls. There was no fighting, no screaming, no whinging. They were delightful and relaxed for the rest of the evening. It made me wonder, if, in an attempt to give my children opportunities, I was giving them both too much and not enough. Too much in the way of piano and ballet lessons, too much organisation and not enough of myself.

That afternoon my girls taught me that belonging comes in unexpected ways through spontaneous acts of silliness and cluttered love.

Tell me, what is your Love Clutter?

OK. I confess. I did pick the clothes up off the floor.