Spring Cleaning With My Mother: A Mother’s Day Essay
I remember one beautiful spring weekend when I was about 8 or 9 years old. It was warm and sunny, finally, after the lingering Québec winters that always seem to have one more storm in store for us. My country is winter, for sure.
But winter was definitely gone by that time, and I was playing outside with my friend from across the street. We walked around with notebooks and a pen and took notes about everything we saw: the small apple tree with its tiny leaf buds, the grass that had finally turned green from its brownish winter hibernation shade, and mothers pushing their baby carts to the park, a block away, a smile on their faces.
Fresh, new, and mysterious
We were in an investigating mood; everything felt fresh and new and mysterious in the clear light of the late April sun. But what my mother was doing was the most interesting thing of all. She was taking over the house with buckets and rags, taking apart cupboard doors, windows and faucets.
I have this very clear memory of sitting on the front step of my house and watching her as she took down the mosquito screen and scrubbed the wide-open window.
In my notebook, I wrote: “Conclusion: my mother is doing the Great Spring Cleaning!” I had solved the mystery.
Invigorates the soul, clears up the home
Some of my best and clearest childhood memories revolve around my mother cleaning. There’s something so incredibly powerful about a parent keeping a home clean for the family. I consider myself fairly clean, but with a healthy tolerance for messes. I never let things go as far as making things unhealthy for me and those who live with me, but I can handle leaving dishes out to clean tomorrow or some dirty clothes on the floor to pick up when I do the laundry.
I don’t know that I ever actually shared a spring cleaning spree with my mother. But this old tradition of cleaning the house of the last dregs of winter–musty corners, dirty floors, stained windows–is one that I love. I had my own version of it not too long ago when I cleared and reorganized the cupboards and fridges.
No mosquito screens to take off here! It invigorates the soul and clears up the home. It makes you feel proud of taking such good care of your family. It makes you feel accomplished when you can finally sit down and enjoy that fresh-cleaned smell.
Cleaning as an act of love
Our mothers clean not only because they need to, but because they love us. Our mothers clean because they want us to be healthy and not live in filth. Our mothers tell us to clean because they want us to be able to clean for our own children, one day down the road. I’m sure most mothers don’t like cleaning all that much, but they do it anyway.
Whether or not you did the spring cleaning with your mother, you probably have memories of it somewhere in your mind. As for me, seeing my mom working hard to clean up after winter is a memory that makes me happy. Maybe it’s because she’s so far away now, but it’s also because it showed me a hidden part of her motherly side.
My mother cleaned because she cared. And I’ll always be grateful for that.
Your own memories
Do you have childhood memories of life at home with your Mom? Tell us about it in the comments section.
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