My mother has always kept a very clean home. The kind of clean where you could be an occasional guest in her home, go into the bathroom and not be the slightest bit afraid when you accidentally drop your ring and it rolls behind the toilet. In anyone else’s house (who does not have a stellar cleaning woman) you would think, “oh shhhhhhit.” You would clench your jaw; squint your eyes as if it helps with the nastiness and, holding your breath, reach in to reclaim your valuable. But not in my mother’s bathroom….no sir, no ma’am. You can confidently reach back there, even sit down on the floor if it makes you more comfortable and take your time because back there – it’s clean. There are no forgotten corners in her home, where eventually someone must go and discover a pile of something questionably grey and sticky.
Lately I haven’t been home much. Between the holidays, my birthday and other people’s events, Juan and I have been out more than in, and when we are in we haven’t been all that productive. Without fail, when I go through a period like this, there comes a day where I just can’t take it any more and I need to do a proper cleaning. I need to spend a day, on my own, and tidy up, dust, vacuum, cook and organize. My mother, always the hard worker, is nothing but supportive and kind to me, saying things like, “oh honey…you work so hard, you’re always running around and doing this or that. Don’t feel bad! You deserve it; go out and have a good time, then make sure you rest.” I, quietly, always think the following:
Yeah, ma, right. This is coming from the woman who, with a weakening illness managed (at my age) to have a job, keep a home in tip top shape with no help at all, raise two kids, help them with their homework, keep close tabs on them AND cook every single day trying to keep her husband happy. All this and you could peek behind the television and find clean organized wires and no dust. Sure ma. I should rest…because I’m so busy going out and socializing after work. Sssssure.
No! What happens if you come over and drop something…..anywhere???? You’ll find…well, I just don’t want to say. But no ma, today is “clean up my shit” day. No funny business.
So today that is exactly what I am doing. I reached far behind the toilet, under the radiator and cleaned it all. I removed the light fixture cover and cleaned it (eeeew) and now, I am happy to say, that you can come over and drop marbles if you want, because no matter where they roll, don’t be afraid. It’s all good.
These moments will always remind me of her, and how I was raised. The best part of being an adult is being able to part with the difficulties of being a child and remember the core things that you now know made you who you are. Whenever I am tired or just lazy, and think that I don’t have time, I think of her and know that is just not true. It doesn’t mean that I always then do whatever it is that I am putting off, but that I know. Knowing, as they say, is half the battle. There will never be any room for denial in my life because my mother taught me, by example, otherwise.