These are the brooms I grew up with: grasses tied together by hand, swept carefully over wooden floors. I still love them, although I have no idea where you’d find them now. I suspect I’d sweep more often if I still had a broom like this.
Which is by way of returning to a subject I wrestle with almost hourly — why is it soooo much easier to do something for someone else? Why is cleaning this house — where my son, DIL, and grandson live — than my own? I HATE mopping, but mopped their entryway and kitchen w/grace (if not joy). Because I love them, and they’re overwhelmed right now.
Same w/ the laundry (another thing I let pile up at home), and wiping down bookcases. My own books wear dust jackets — NOT the paper kind. And no, I’m not really kidding; we just took three boxes of books to Goodwill, and I made my husband get them out of the car FAST so the thick grey dust didn’t give him an asthma attack!
Soooo, what’s the deal? I’m not the kind of person who thinks I don’t have value. My self-concept is fairly healthy, all things considered. It’s not like I don’t believe I deserve a cleaner house.
Part of is that whole time thing. Here, my only tasks centre on the ‘kids’ — my adult elder son, my DIL, and my grandson. I let the blog go; I get up when they need me (instead of sleeping until the cat wakes me up by jumping on me); I cook in the evenings; I try in all ways to show how much I love them. Perhaps a better question would be: how does cleaning their house show love?
And it’s back to time. When you’re overwhelmed — for whatever reason(s) — time collapses & expands like a spastic accordian. Tightly packed when you need more, str-e-t-c-h-ing when you want to be able to get whatever done NOW. Plus, I’m a strong believer in order without, order within. If I can give you clean sheets & towels, cook potato corn chowder and cheese biscuits, and straighten the living room? Perhaps you can draw a quiet breath for a moment, before the whirl of chaos that is grief returns.
At my own house, I know I’ll get to things eventually. And face it: normally? Who cares if my floor has been mopped today??
For my son & DIL, however, I think of it as a form (on a very small, local scale) of engaged Buddhism: you don’t just say you’re sorry. You put your hands where your words are. To work. Soothing the battered heart. And sometimes, that requires a broom, a mop, and a 3rd trip to Kroger’s to pick up more laundry detergent…