Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cleaning

Yesterday when the kids got up, I warned them: "Today is cleaning day. Your goal today is to clean. It is our reason for being today. Cleaning. That's it. Cleaning and organizing. If it doesn't fit one of those two categories, we ain't doin' it." You can imagine the joy on their faces as they munched their cereal and heard the exciting plans for the day. I'm sure they were sad they hadn't gotten up earlier. Life just doesn't get any better than a sunny summer day when you wake up and your mom tells you you're cleaning your room, nay, the rest of the house. All. Day.

I'm sure one of them uttered a silent prayer, a plea for rescue, as I was speaking. How am I sure? Because after I had issued our orders for the day and we began to get our game faces on, the phone rang. It was Grandma. She's enjoying a week of vacation, and wouldn't the children like to spend the day with her at the lake? Luke's brother has a beautiful travel trailer/ RV which he took out to a lake not far from here and set up for her so she could spend time out there fishing and enjoying time by the water, relaxing. (Isn't that a sweet son?) So, of course, she would love it if the kids could go with her and fish and swim and enjoy it with her. (Isn't that a sweet Grandma?) I stood looking at the chaos and dirt around me (the result of our flying-by-the-seat-of-our-swim-suits summer lifestyle) my plan-for-the-day still echoing in my mind. The kids were already cheerfully hopping to it (really, that's how they are!) having no idea what I was on the phone discussing. I held their futures in my very palm, and they had no idea! So, what did I do? I let them go, of course. (Isn't that a sweet mom?)

Before they left, I decided we would do something for Dad, who is working long(er) hours this week while his business partner is out of the country. He's starting his days at 4:30 AM, coming home v-e-r-y tired. Too tired to mow the yard. So, my son and I tackled the yard together. I mowed and he weed-eated weed-ate used the weedeater. We knocked it out and they happily skipped off with Grandma by 10:30, and I had the day to myself. So, what did I do? I continued with The Plan. If it didn't have to do with cleaning, I wasn't going to do it! Still panting from yardwork, I decided to tackle my son's room. He had already warned me, "Mom, when we're cleaning my room, don't get mad, okay?" He knows me. And I know him. And I know that in the realm of kids and chores, you get what you inspect, not what you expect. I am not a good "inspector" most days, so I often find clothes behind the door and all manner of clutter stuffed where a resourceful 10/11 year-old would stuff clutter in the name of getting-through-with-chores! He's not as naturally organized as his sister, he just wants to get on with life!

I did what Laura the Organizing Junkie suggests, which is "empty the space." And I mean, I emptied the space. I took everything out of his closet and put it in the playroom. I took every toy, bin, shelf, all but his bed, desk and dresser... out. Bless his heart! If he would've been there I know I would've gotten frustrated with him over what I was finding. I'll bet I found enough socks to outfit the nearest elementary school. When I pulled out his trundle bed to move it, it was covered in books, socks, pencils, his mp3 player, etc. I decided early on that while I was working in his room that day, I would pray through it. I also decided that if I got frustrated with him (which I did, often! "This is not where he's supposed to put this!! And he knows it!!") I would pray for him. I had to keep reminding myself, that... he's a child! He's learning. And as I went through his things, putting things back in order and praying for that sweet child, I learned too.

I wonder if that's what it's like for Jesus, as He's going through the mess in my heart that I bring Him daily. I wonder if He thinks, "What a mess! What is this doing in here?? What did I tell you to do with this? And, do you still have this? I thought I asked you to get rid of it. Here, let Me help." It made me think of that little booklet, My Heart, Christ's Home, that I got from a Sunday School teacher in middle school. The concept of Jesus coming in and helping me deal with the clutter in my heart and setting it in order for His purposes has always been such a blessing to me. I'm His child. I'm learning.

So, what were the results? When my cute husband came home and saw the yard, he looked at me like he wanted to marry me again. I was even still in my yardwork clothes with my hair piled on my head! He said, "I thought you were kidding when you said you mowed!" Kidding? Who would kid about a thing like that? That's like burning a cookie-scented candle and making everyone's mouth water, thinking there's fresh-baked cookies somewhere when there's just... wax! Anyway, it was worth it to see the look on his tired face when he got home after a long day and was able to relax instead of do yard work.

My son came home today (they ended up spending the night last night- fun!) and l-o-v-e-d his room. He's up there now, listening to his radio and playing with his hamster in his newly-organized room. He feels thankful, most of all. (He hugged me SO tight. "Thanks, mom!!") He feels relieved that it's done. He feels empowered because everything is where he can get to it and knows exactly where to put his things. He feels relaxed because clutter has a way of producing tension. (I ought to know... it's how I feel when I walk in my closet! That's next on my list!) It's been in order before, but after our schoolyear and busy summer, it needed to be organized. I'm sure in a few months it will need it again, and that's okay. I wish I had a picture of his smile. And someday I'll share pictures of his room.

But right now I'm too tired!

11 comments:

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

What a great post! I had to laugh at the beginning. We are having company tonight. I told my son we would be doing cleaning today. His first response was "Why clean before they come? We'll probably make a mess, so let's wait until after they leave." I told him that didn't work, so he said, "Let's just not ever have people over, and then we will never have to clean!" You have to give them credit for trying! :)

I posted my questions today. Thanks for the tag!

Susanne said...

I love it!! I tackled my sons'(5 &3) room last week, doing EXACTLY the same thing! I haven't made it to the daughter's (7) area yet...I am STILL RECOVERING!! Ha ha!! Maybe I could get Grandma to come get them and go for it then! Wonderful post as always!!

Linda said...

Well done Cyndi (and if I've never told you how much I love your sense of humor - consider yourself told). It really feels great to get jobs that have quite literally been weighing on us done. Your son must have felt like he got a huge reprieve.
What a great thing to do for you husband. You did good!!
I have that same little booklet. I must admit that although I loved it - I felt rather ashamed of myself most of the time I was reading it. Oh yes - the Lord is forever having to do cleanup in my heart. And far too often it is the same old mess.
Now today - just have fun!!

Terri @ In His Hands said...

You are a SUPERSTAR! :)
Great post---motivating me to get off my tuckus!~

Laurel Wreath said...

I enjoyed reading this!! What a way to surprise your husband!!

Sonya said...

What a sweet, wonderful mom you are! I can relate very well to your feelings of frustration when you go to clean the room of a child and find things that they know doesn't go under the bed or in the floor. I love that you prayed for your son while you were cleaning the room. I'm stealing that idea! I have real issues with what my girls put under their bed! It slays me to find trash under their or socks! Thank you for sharing your day and your tips. I know it has helped me and will help me the next time I go to clean under the bed!

Susanne said...

Wow, you are disciplined! I know what I would have been doing if I all of sudden found myself with a day to myself and it wouldn't have been housework!

Alycia said...

I love how you tied this post together!! We have some places to tackle before homeschooling begins again and I am starting to feel overwhelmed by it all. My husband is leaving for an exercise for six weeks and as of now, my plan is to tackle those areas in my "fee" time. Thank you for this uplifting post! Blessings Cyndi!

Mindy said...

Dont' you have the best feeling about the organized room? I always dred it but feel so good when it is done!
Hope you are having a more restful day today =)
IN HIM -
Mindy

Dianne said...

Cute about your son being so grateful. Several years ago my husband was in the midst of our 3-year basement remodeling project. About every 3 months things seemed to come to a standstill. I'd go down and clean up the mess and reorganize his tools, etc. You'd think he'd be like "outta my stuff, woman!" but no - he was as thrilled as your son! And he loves when I tackle the garage, although he and I do it together mostly now.

Jenny in Ca said...

wow, great job mom! I am just beginning the big cleaning job before the start of homeschool- and your post reminded me to slow down and pray for my kids instead of get mad, you are right, they are children. Thanks for your wise words.