Saturday, May 12, 2012
The Sweep Stakes Were High at My House
I was laying on the couch watching television in my usual posture. On my side, arm bent to cradle my head in my hand, top leg bent at the knee and held in the crook of my elbow. I was eleven. It was Saturday morning. I don't know what I was watching but I'm sure I wasn't really interested in it either. I was avoiding. The voice called from somewhere in the house, yet again, "Clean your room." I remained silent. My mother appeared. Each day of the week she left a messy house behind, impeccably dressed and coiffed for work, and came home to the same clutter to sit on the couch and throw her shoes off, unhook her bra and magically remove it, draping it over the couch. Weekends were usually spent escaping the mess. My mother was always ready to get out of the house and go somewhere rather than deal with it. Then suddenly she would be overcome with a cleaning frenzy. But. As happened every so often without warning my mom was fed up. It was a Capital Letters Cleaning Day. She stood before me in ugly gray stretchy shorts and old t shirt. Her hair haphazardly pushed back with a band. "Get in there and clean that room!"
I will, I answered flatly, staring at the TV screen and making no move beyond rocking my bent leg a bit. Now! she yelled. I will in a minute, I repeated, for about the fifth time that morning. I was being a brat. My mother swooped on the room picking up handfuls of clutter in a whirlwind. Thrown into sudden and full onset raging menopause by a hysterectomy, she had already in recent weeks, broken dishes in the sink, shockingly used to F word, and her reaction to my dads Christmas gift of new pots and pans guaranteed something gorgeous under the tree for her the rest of his life.
I should have known better.
My room was a daunting task I wished to avoid. With the exception of my neatly arranged bookshelf, everything was chaos. I don't remember exactly what was in there. I do know I couldn't see the floor. I recall making an Olympic medal worthy jump from the door to my bed at night to avoid injury.
She threatened again. "If you don't clean that room I'm going to throw everything in it away." I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes. "I'll do it! ...later...."I resumed my concentration on...I don't know...probably Wild Kingdom...it was getting that late in the morning.
A short time later, I heard a lot of noise coming from the back of the house. "Geez, what's she doing now? Cleaning out the closets? It sounded rather violent. Due to recent events, I decided it was wise to stay out of the way. Besides, if she wore herself out she'd forget about my room. Then a bizarre, long swishing sound on our wooden floors, followed my clanking and bumping noises, began to descend the hall. "What the heck?" It would stop for a moment and then resume, louder than before.
Suddenly a mountain of clothing and objects came pouring through the door to the living room. MY clothing and My Stuff, like lava exploding through a crevice and flowing freely over the living room floor. The mountain continued into the middle of the room, being propelled by the huge push broom we used to clear the driveway and front walk. My mother pulled back, gripping tight, and with a forceful shove cleared the doorway. She walked to the front door and opened it wide. I stood up from the couch, finally distracted from the TV. "What are you doing?" I cried out, full of righteous indignation. "You can't do that! I said I would do it!" My mother ignored me. With a mighty heave she pushed the entire contents of my bedroom out the front door across the porch and into the front yard.
I was speechless.
She Was Grand.
The moral of this story being, of course, that I then had to pick up everything and return it to my room neatly. This incident created a lasting impression on me as a child, no doubt, but it has evolved into a fond memory. It created respect and admiration and awe. Even though I've been a mother for a long time, Mothers Day for me is still about my mother. She died in 2008 but I still feel like the title belongs to her. I may get some perks on that day but the throne is reserved for My Mom.
I wish all of you moms out there a HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!
Relax. Have Fun! Collect Your Due Regards. Be Grand : )
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