May 12, 2009

Why Isn't It a National Holiday?

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. It happens every spring. It is not a national holiday, although it ought to be. It is not even on my calendar. Yet, I plan and look forward to it more than my birthday.

Today is the day when I sit back in the sun with a novel and watch the kids clean out the shed. Every year they, who made the mess, drag everything out. They trash, recycle and repair. Then they put everything neatly back in its place.

For the next 12 months...I warn, suggest, threaten and elude to what will happen if things aren't put back where they belong. On the first day of Spring, still the inevitable happens. I run outdoors and get into my garden. In search of a rake or spade I open the door to the shed only to find that I can't even walk inside because of the mess piled at the door.

So I begin to anticipate a nice day when I've nothing pressing to do. I never know what day it will be...just so happens that one morning as I clean up the breakfast dishes I know this is the day. I pull up my chair and watch. Lest you think I am an ogre, I don't do this to be mean or lazy. Actually, I find it quite amusing. And, as my flesh and blood friends can tell you, it is an act of unbelievable self control for me to sit and not work.

I was trained in the fine art of home making by my grandmother who truly believed it was a sin to sit and watch others work if God gave you two hands to work with. God placed in me an innate need to jump up and take part in the work and do what needs to be done. I love to organize things. I am thrilled at the concept of throwing things out. I am delighted when I return to a drawer, closet or room that is freshly cleaned out and see the fruit of my work. To be deprived of that is akin to depriving myself of air or food.

Yet, I do so in hopes that they will learn the value of orderliness. That a little bit of time putting things away makes everything easier and saves time. I do it in hopes that they learn a sense of working together without me overseeing things. That they may feel the pride of a job well done each time they go to retrieve a bike. I do it in hopes that they will learn a lesson. I do it in hopes that when August rolls around and I go to get my gardening gloves they will still be right where they belong in the basket on the third shelf down.

Seven years we've been at this annual ritual and yet today I will still be sitting. Either they will learn or they will get married, have their own shed to clean, and carry on the tradition. No matter, at least I get to enjoy a good book once a year.

And isn't self sacrifice what being a mother is all about?

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