My friend Sue gave me a sign to hang in my kitchen that says, ‘Nobody Knows What I Do Until I Don’t Do It.’
She must have been a fly on my wall the day Garret walked into the house, gazed around the room then looked me in the eye and said, Mom what exactly is it that you do all day?”
After I restrained myself from cuffing him along side the head, I said. “Nothing Garret, absolutely nothing. I get up, I stand in this spot and look around scratching my head until someone comes home. Then I mess up my hair, throw some flour on my nose and try to look busy.”
He snorted as he nodded his head and walked away. “I thought so.”
Is it abusive to kick your grown son where he sits if you’re careful not to hit the pocket where he keeps his brains?
My children have no concept of the work I do to keep our home organized and clean. When they lived at home, Kristjana told me I was Danny Tanner on crack. In case you don’t remember him, he is the star of the ‘90s sitcom ‘Full House’ and was Mr. Clean incarnate.
At least she recognized that I cleaned the house. She just didn’t appreciate it. Some things never change.
I am in the middle of my holiday cleaning spree. I want the house perfect when my children come home to celebrate the season. To me nothing says Christmas quite like the scent of pine, Pine sol that is.
I clean all the places nobody looks, the slats on the blinds, between the slats of the vents on all the appliances, and if the dog comes too close, I run the rag inside her ears too.
I pull out the Christmas Quilt’s I have made over the years and lovingly deck out each bed. All the pillowcases are pressed. I’m not insane I don’t press the sheets. However, I do press the lace trim on the edges so they will look perfect when I fold them back over the quilts for that, ‘I can’t wait to jump into bed,’ look. These things bring me pleasure.
I like to imagine my children getting little shivers of joy as they set their bags beside the little glowing tree that twinkles a welcome. They will sigh with pleasure as they slip their tired bodies between the silken sheets.
Of course, my children have no sense of refinement, one more thing to beat myself up over. I could have saved myself a small fortune on sheets and simply spread the beds with cheap muslin.
The first thing they will do when the go into the room is to rip the bed apart and tear off the top sheet. It spends the holiday mixed in a pile of dirty laundry on the floor. The quilts are all pooled around on top of the bed like some sort of cocoon big enough to bury an elephant.
Despite the fact that there is an empty closet full of shelves and hangers, clothes carpet the floor and dirty socks hang in clumps from the Christmas tree.
I shake my head and wonder why I go through all the trouble then smile as I remember: the tie that binds generations together, torment.
Where would the fun of life be without a little torment? What would be the pleasure of coming into a room already dirty with sheets on the floor and blankets in a pile on the bed?
What would I complain about if everything were perfect? Not to mention the fact, that it would upset nature’s delicate balance if there were nothing for me to clean after they left.
There is a moment every year however, when I am tempted to step up the torment meter. I promise myself that I am going to take out the beds and throw a pile of loose straw onto the floor. I could create my own version of the manger scene. Since this is the season for swaddling, I would give them a pile of ticking to swaddle up in.
I would do it to, but the thought of all that straw in my house makes me hyperventilate.