Sunday was Mother’s Day. I celebrated by sleeping in until 9:30. Mmmm, sleep. Once I finally managed to drag myself out of bed, my youngest step daughter volunteered to make me breakfast. I asked for my daily special, cold oatmeal. It was delicious. Probably the best Mother’s Day oatmeal I’ve ever had.
Later in the day, Kevin and the kids surprised me with a cute card which they had all signed and a pretty plant with bright orange flowers. Kevin also gave me an awesome bouquet of flowers, complete with pink sparklies. The kids left around 11 to spend the rest of the day with their moms. Kevin made me some salmon and – my now nightly ritual – plain mashed potatoes. Such a good day. I called my mom before dinner and we chatted for a bit.
My mom has taught me a lot of things that have helped shape me into a responsible, well-adjusted adult. I remember waking up EVERY Saturday morning to the sound of pots and pans clanking in the sink. I’m pretty sure this was intentional. Saturday was chore day and, teenager or not, I had a list waiting for me when I went downstairs. Because I knew this, I would postpone the inevitable as long as possible. Sometimes I wasn’t “feeling well”, other times I’d just pretend to keep sleeping. But, eventually, I would go downstairs and there stood my mother – er, actually, she was never just standing: She was usually doing some sort of hustle-your-bustle cleaning movement, wiping dishes with one hand, opening drawers with her foot and wiping a spot off the floor with the other foot.
The list was not your run of the mill chore list, either. I’ve compared “chore lists” with my peers many times over the years. Most had the usual: Take out the trash, do the dishes, feed the cat, etc. Mine looked more like this:
1. Clean the Kitchen. This wasn’t just “Do the dishes”. This meant do the dishes, clean the microwave, clean the stove and burners, sweep the floor, mop the floor, shake the rugs, use a toothbrush to clean around the sink after the dishes are done, wipe down counter tops and table, etc. Also, we were NEVER allowed to use the dishwasher. All dishes had to be washed by hand to avoid the “rainbow” in the bottom of the pots and pans.
2. Wash the Walls. Seriously? Who washes their walls on a regular basis? I thought ammonia was made specifically for this purpose until about 5 years ago.
3. Clean the Bathroom. Again, this doesn’t just mean wipe off the counters and clean off the dried toothpaste from the mirror. No, no, no. Have your old toothbrush and toothpicks ready! Cleaning the toilet was more than spreading some Lysol around the edges of the bowl and giving it a quick sweep with the 10-year-old toilet brush. Nope, it meant you also cleaned the front, sides, top and all crevices of said pot. My mom’s philosophy was if it wasn’t clean enough to eat off of, it wasn’t clean. We also had to scrub the sides of the tub and walls until they were sparkling. Washing the counters, sink and mirror were just “common sense”.
Those are a few examples. Bless my mother’s heart, though, she was right there with me doing all and more of these chores herself. She made sure I knew “the right way” to do them and if I slacked off or tried to pull a fast one on her, she was there with the white glove test, telling me to do it again. The funny thing is, to some parents these days, this sounds really harsh. Or maybe some parents would rather just do it themselves to make sure it’s done right. Maybe I didn’t do it as well as my mom would have, but I still learned how to clean. That’s not to say I clean my walls on a weekly basis, but I know how to do it if I feel the need.
The nice thing about being taught these principles is I believe it works in other aspects of life. I learned hard work pays off. I learned to do it right the first time. I learned to appreciate it when someone else does something for you which you would normally have to do yourself. I learned procrastinating just drags out the misery of what needs to be done. I learned about patience and acceptance. And now, in retrospect, I learned how much my mom loves me.
So, thanks mom. I owe a lot to you. You’re a real super lady and your grandbabies will be lucky to have you for a grandma!