I've had to learn to lighten up.
My friend Joan's mother lived with them as she slowly gave in to Alzheimer Disease. One of their favorite stories is one where their mother, in a less-than-lucid moment, looked around at Joan's house and said, "I don't know who lives here, but these people have given up."
I've been uttering a similar phrase lately.
I've learned to let it go for varying reasons. I don't want to spend my entire life picking things up. Surely I'm a more interesting person than that? I don't want to spend my entire life telling my kids to pick things up. Surely there are other things a kid would rather hear from his mother for 18 years? And I don't want to be a slave to my neuroses.
I used to blame my mom, because she had a lot of things for me to dust over and around. But really, her house wasn't cluttered. She has a stronger love for decorations than I do, but it was always tastefully done. So, sorry Mom. I take back all that "you did it to me" projecting of my earlier years.
But even though I've learned to let go a lot more and a lot more often, I still, ultimately, feel the most sane when my house is in order. And by order, I mean clean, uncluttered, and unlived in. As much as I'd love to say I delight in kids' projects strewn about the kitchen or artwork taking up every inch of wall space or on-going carpentry projects covering the basement, it just ain't so. So shoot me.
So today, I got the itch. After weeks of transition from unschooling-to-school, weeks of nightly soccer games and practices and being on a different field every day, and weeks of ignoring the growing piles and spreading clutter and messy overflow in every direction, I asked the kids to humor my angst and take a gander at the long to-do list of cleaning projects. They're old enough to know that a sane mama is much more fun to be around than a drowning-in-dust-bunnies mama who can't see straight, so they took on a few projects and got busy. As the old saying goes, "If mama ain't happy, nobody's happy." And while I try very very hard not to spew my ugliness around, the fact is once in a while, I need things to return to center so I can regroup and start fresh.
Today I get to leave for my women's retreat (WaHOO) with my kitchen looking like this:
And my living room like this:
And even my yard like this:
astounding, mind-boggling, off-the-charts work ethic when I need to crank out every possible chore in one day and all before a departure time of 3:30 in the afternoon, and I utter a couple of cornfield-grrrl phrases he'd have used, too.
And that feels most excellent. I can breathe! I can breathe. I channel my dad and his
Time to get-er-done.... All I wanna see are *ssholes and elbows..... Time to hit-er in the sh*tter....
He'd be proud, I'm sure of it. And just for kicks, let's have one last look at my lovely clean kitchen. Hello, beautiful...
And maybe just one more. Ahhhh....
I think I'm in love. *sigh*