I don't usually let mess get to me. But I do like things clean. (There's a difference between piles of paper spread out on a clean table, and piles of papers strewn over half-eaten apples and candy wrappers, after all.)
|Francois Shnell, cc-by-2.0|
The trouble with being a "clean-nik," as opposed to a neatnik, is that it is a losing proposition in a houseful of kids. At the end of the day, there's never enough time to make everything as sparkling clean as I would like it. Scrubbing bathroom tiles always comes in a last when it’s a choice between that or feeding the troops, making sure they have clean clothes, and getting to bed before midnight.
As for dusting... let's just say that when I was waiting at the dentist recently, rereading an old Agatha Christie mystery that had been left there, and the detective in the story noticed "day-old" dust in the murder victim's home, I laughed out loud.
So there I was, one evening, duster in hand, trying to polish up our living room, despairing that I can never get it as perfectly clean as I would like.
In a moment of frustration, I looked at the stuff on the hutch above the china cabinet and exclaimed, "I'm getting rid of all of this. All it does is collect dust." I grabbed the carved owl statuette that my mother had given me the day I got my first job after college. "I'm packing this up."
My beloved came over and took me by the shoulders. "Stop." I was turned around to face the three shelves and their ten or so knick knacks. "Do you know what I see when I look at this?
"That's the souvenir we bought that day at the crafts fair..." Yeah - fifteen years ago. It was a perfect day. Just the memory made some of my tension melt.
"That's what your mom got you when you got your first writing job — and that other owl, that was also a gift from mom.
"This tree of wire and stones — the kids were so proud to have made that. And this jar from my grandmother's house, it reminds me of all those visits to her. The seashells? Didn't we have a wonderful time when we took the kids to the beach? They were so happy! That brass candelabra from your grandfather, I know how much it means to you.
"You know what I see when I look at this? I see our life, our family. I see our home. And I hope it is dusty. I hope it's full of dust. Because that means we're far too busy taking care of our kids and each other and living our life together, to worry about a little dust."
What could I say? Except I'd just fallen in love all over again.
You might still find me waving around my duster late at night, but now each time I walk by that hutch and spy some dust, I can't help but smile.
Milou Koenings is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes romance because, like chocolate, stories with a happy ending bring more joy into the world and so make it a better place.
Her Green Pines sweet romances, Reclaiming Home and Sweet Blizzard are available on Amazon and Amazon.uk.
You can find her on her website,www.miloukoenings.com, on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.