I was in the basement the other day when I heard a rolling series of thumps followed by a loud crash as something Lydia sized hurled itself off the top step of our stairs and landed in the living room above me.

The little girl’s mother sighed loud enough for me to hear it from where I was sitting at the base of a second short flight of stairs. “Lydia, what are you doing?” she asked.

The little girl replied proudly, “I’m going to get married.”

Unfazed, her mother asked, “Have you cleaned up your paints yet?”

“No,” the girl sang in five warbling notes. “But I’m going to get married.”

“Well, go clean up your paints first.”

“Ugh!” the girl protested with a growl. “But I don’t want to clean my paints, I want to go get married.”

“Lydia, clean your paints.”

There was then the sound of reluctant plodding footsteps leading away towards the dining room table which was covered in several layers of water color paints and paper so wet with color it will still be drying when they hang it in a museum 100 years from now.

I opened my mouth to say something and then thought better of it and went back to what I had been doing. But I was suddenly very concerned. Was this an unreasonable standard we were holding our daughter to? I mean, if we keep insisting that she pick up all of her things first, poor Lydia may never be able to get married. Maybe we should be trying a different approach. Maybe instead of forcing her to put away her paints, we should just let her go and get married. Then we can leave the complaining about her art supplies being scattered everywhere all the time to her husband and we can just sit in our finally clean living room and laugh.