DISGUSTING! I’m not a fan of house-cleaning. Actually, never have been but hey, I’m a guy, I could live in a moldy cave as long as I could watch football! See, that’s the other thing I’m not a fan of; stereotypes. Wasn’t the phrase most commonly used to describe “housewives;” Chief Cook and Bottle-Washer? At least that’s what I learned at an early age.
Well, since I haven’t had a “real” job in the past 9 months, and since my lovely wife is now toiling 8 to 5, I have become the designated cook and house-cleaner. I find this to be so ironic because for my entire life my job has been to make a mess. I’m really good at it and, according to my wife, I’m bloody awesome at the task! Worst job I’ve ever had in my life, this cleaning gig. So many “rules.” Why can’t I dust with my hand only? Is a “dust cloth” with some Pledge really going to get the dust off any better than my hand. Vacuum? You want me to vacuum HOW OFTEN? And, seriously, I need sweep the floor then wash the floor with soapy water, THEN wash it again with clean water? INSANITY!
Then it hit me. My Mom. From the time I was born until the sad, sad day that she dies, she has been cleaning up after me and my siblings. No she didn’t have a “career,” we were her job. She never had a day off because our full-time job was creating dirt and mess and chaos, 24/7. When my father came home, she got to deal with a part-time mess-maker. He was an amateur compared to us kids. Yes, she was the “Chief-Cook and Bottle-Washer” of our family. My father said so, often.
Mom at 84 years young.
Mom at 20 years young.
Fortunately, we are now an enlightened society. We understand the value of providing our families with a clean and safe home. We applaud those who put their own needs aside and engage in a lifetime of service to their family, friends and relatives.
I realized, while my Platex-gloved hands were deep under the rim, scrubbing who-knows-what out of our guest toilet, that I didn’t remember ever saying “Thank You” to my Mom. “Thank You,” for countless dinners cooked, endless clothes cleaned, too many wounds bandaged and blood cleaned. “Thank you” for making my bed (yeah, I was spoiled) and never telling my father what you found under the mattress. “Thank You” for football team dinners and broken windows you fixed. “Thank You” for all the times you didn’t let me know that I had made you cry.
I just picked up the phone and called my Mom. She’s 2,300 miles away and I didn’t want to take the chance that she’d never hear me say “Thank You.” She didn’t let me know on the phone but I think I made her cry … again.
My Mom and me.