Come On In. We’re Not Ready.

Come on in. We’re not ready.

I was at the discount grocery store last week when I saw the stack of welcome mats between the soda and the giant bags of brownie brittle. They said,

Come on in,
We’re not ready

I laughed out loud because YES. YES; THIS IS US, EXACTLY. 

Come on in. We’re not ready. BUT WHO CARES? Come in, anyway, because Being Inside Together is More Important than Preparation. Opening the Door Wide to the Wild and the Weird is More Important than Pretending We Have It All Together. More wonderful, too. Yes? Yes. This is true.  

Come on in! We’re not ready.

Then I thought about the terrible punctuation situation on that mat.

Come on in,
We’re not ready

That comma is wrong, I thought, and who starts the next phrase with a capital letter and doesn’t finish with a period?? I’m not proud of the fact that this matters to me; it’s just the way it is, friends. I mean, I understand language is evolutionary. I’m working hard, actually, to care more about Clear Communication than about Following Arbitrary and Convoluted, Gate-Keeping Language Rules. But the struggle is real. Putting out a literal welcome mat celebrating poor punctuation? It’s a stretch, I tell you.

I checked the price — a whopping $7 — and walked away.  Bad punctuation plus SEVEN WHOLE DOLLARS felt like a bridge too far. But I only made it an aisle away — to the off-brand women’s gummy vitamins and discontinued wrinkle creams — before I went back, talked myself through spending $7 on something unnecessary that brings me unreasonable joy, and threw it in my shopping cart.

I figure it’s even better with the horrible punctuation, actually. Like the mat is saying, “Come on in, We’re not ready … AND I DID NOT HAVE TIME TO PROOFREAD THIS WHICH JUST PROVES I’M UNPREPARED.” It’s like a visual aid for what’s happening inside my house so that visitors aren’t surprised by the used socks flung halfway down the stairs, or the blanket fort ruins in the living room, or the paper towel confetti the foster dog created as a special backyard thanks-for-hosting-me decoration.

Come on in! We’re not ready.  

The floors are filthy. The counters are cluttered. There are broken bits of Nerf bullets every-damn-where. But the company is good, the drinks are usually cold, and we don’t care if you drop an eff-bomb in front of the kids, because we went ahead and took care of that for you so they’ve heard it before and will love you anyway sans judgement regarding your mouth.

Come on in! We’re not ready. 

My make-up is on, and my hair is done, except for most the time when that’s not the case at all. Also, I can’t guarantee anyone is wearing pants or appropriate undergarments. Not the kids. Not the grown-ups. We focus more on kindness than grooming around here. We fail at both, but at least we try, try, try again. Priorities, folks. We have them.

Come on in! We’re not ready. 

Not even emotionally. At least not always. I mean, God knows if you’re going to walk in on someone bitching or being uncharitable or laying underneath the kitchen table writing graffiti and declaring she is DONE, cannot take ANY MORE, and is GIVING UP on ALL the THINGS. But meh. Come in anyway. Someone’s probably stuck on the toilet with the bathroom door open, hollering for toilet paper, but come in. Come in. 

Come on in! We’re not ready.

But Ready and Put-Together are overrated anyway, aren’t they? Like facades for regular life. An illusion. A masquerade. A veil that obscures in the name of beauty but really only separates us from the grimy, glorious, gorgeous truth of a complex reality better and brighter than Pristine Pretend.

So come on in!  We’re not ready, and that doesn’t matter at all. 

Come on in where Ready is irrelevant. Welcome, instead, to the chaos, the madness, and the mess.

Psst… there’s magic here.

With love,

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
12 comments
  1. […] folks. I wrote to you a bit ago about my new welcome mat which […]

  2. My sister has a sign outside her door that says, “The house was clean yesterday. Sorry you missed it.”

    Also, I’m retroactively stalking your blog because I just realized I haven’t visited in a long time and apparently I need to resubscribe.

  3. Oh. I could use three of these. Mostly because they will become covered in mud so fast it defies human understanding. I also saw one that said “There’s like, a lot of kids in here”. We really are never ready. The people who know us love us warts and dirty dishes and all. It’s a beautiful thing. 🙂

  4. My daughter is very extroverted. She started inviting people over the moment she learned to speak. One day, at the mailbox she invited a new neighbor into my house. I told the neighbor, “You can come in, just know that my house is a mess.” She said to me, “It’s ok, I can come back another time,” but I told her, “No, no. it will probably never look better than this, so now is just fine.” That mat would work perfect for us. 🙂

  5. Love this. All of it. The doormat, the sentiments expressed, the reminder there was life before Martha Stewart cranked up everyone’s expectations. Sure wish we could meet for coffee.

  6. I NEED that mat. We decided Sunday to sell the house (while we were out of town), signed paperwork last night, and pictures are tomorrow.
    Every room is a disaster- we are cluttery people even after we’ve cleaned up. So that mat is us anyway.
    I’m in panic mode.

    And thanks for letting me vent. 🙂

  7. Maybe it’s not that it’s bad punctuation–maybe it’s a poem, or part of one.

    1. Oh my gosh. Yes. THIS. Maybe it’s a poem. Maybe all of life is. Maybe that’s what making up our own rules means. We’re creating poetry. All the time.

  8. I’d buy the mat for those very reasons (after the same not-buying thoughts) and it would then sit in my crafting zone mess for a few weeks until I gave in and put in out in front of the door despite my inaction and intentions of adding a dot to make a semi-colon and some form of punctuation at the end of the sentence.
    I actually take strange pleasure in having people come into my messy house. (It drives my husband a little crazy.) I’m not perfect but I’m real.

  9. The thing about rules is they’re all just made up by people and the being ready thing is just made up by people. What is ready anyway? All those rules can be changed at any time. And who are all those people who made up those rules? What makes them so special that their opinion on rules and being ready count more than anyone else’s? Just some thoughts I have from time to time.

  10. PERFECT.

    I would have, totally unapologetically, added a dot of black paint above the comma to make a semicolon. You can’t really PROVE that the W is upper-case; maybe it’s a weird font.

    But I may have a tiiiiiiiny little problem with letting things be Not According To The Rules.

    1. You’re my mind of people. Let’s be friends.

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