Its spring and I am on a cleaning rampage…
Oh not the usual clean-my-house thing—that may yet come. Instead, I have laid siege to my children’s bedrooms. The disaster slowly crept up until their floors were regularly obscured by clothes, papers and an undisclosed amount of half-emptied Tupperware containers, the remains of school lunches growing mold at an alarming rate! I woke up on Saturday and had enough. No more threats, no more bargaining. I stood on tiptoes and looked my kids in the eye and in front of witnesses laid out the new rules. No clothes, no books, no garbage, no nothin’ on their floors. Anything left behind will be promptly deposited on the cold dark cement of our garage floor. If after a week it still remains, it will be sent to the second-hand store of my choice—probably the Bible for Missions store, just down the hill.
My youngest daughter rolled her eyes and smiled benevolently at me. She’d heard many threats before, and this latest one did little to impress her. However, when she arrived home from school Monday afternoon to the gleaming cleared floor of her bedroom the squawking began. Her main concern? The Easter chocolate she’d left out. I smiled and pointed to my mouth—offering her a quick thank you for her contribution to the “help keep mom sane” fund. She glowered and stomped out the garage to retrieve her other things. I’d declared war and so war it was.
By the time she returned to the kitchen where I stood preparing a salad, she challenged to check out my room. With the flick of my wrist I pointed her in that direction and offered for her to take a look. This child of mine had been in my heart for more than 15 years—I knew the devious paths of her mind and had spent an hour preparing. My room was immaculate—even books that usually sat in an uneven pile on the floor by my bedside were safely tucked away. She scoured the room for offending items and finally crowed triumphant. There was junk under my bed—I too should be punished for my sin!
Shaking my head I gently asked if she wanted me to go check under her bed. She frowned and like Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes fame, she considered and discarded several plans of attack. I watched as one thought then another flitted across her face before she slipped into my closet and scooping up a chocolate from my stash, sauntered from the room, head held high. I ignored her theft and tuned out more grumbling as I returned to dinner prep.
This morning she again huffed and puffed like the big bad wolf. Disgust dripped from her lips as she reiterated her disapproval of this latest barrage against messy room syndrome. Whining and complaining, she dashed around the living room and bedroom to clean up a stream of junk that she’d dumped along that route the previous evening. Finally, stomping back to the living room just as her father started hollering for my hoard to get in the car. He was her ride to the bus stop, so she complained a little louder and a little faster, almost forgetting her lunch in the process. It was my turn to roll my eyes, but with a quick hug I closed the door behind the noisy lot and walked down the hall to survey her bedroom. I almost staggered in amazement—the floor, I could actually see the floor!
And so the battle is on…
Will the complaining wear me down? Will the mess slowly creep back? The future is unclear, but for today, I will savor this small victory. I can walk down the hall and my senses are not assaulted by the chaos that regularly reigns in her room. Instead the butter yellow walls and the gleaming oak floors send a song into my heart and at least for today there is peace.