Today was cleaning day! After weeks of neglect (and a day of fun yesterday) our house was in desperate need of a good scrubbing. I spent the day cleaning and now the dust bunnies are gone, the laundry is finished, and the floors are shining.
The funniest thing kept happening. As I was cleaning throughout the day, a little poem kept coming into my head. It was sort of like having a song stuck in my head, except there was no music, just the words to the poem. The poem was part of a cross-stitched picture that I made for Emily’s room when she was a baby:
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ‘til tomorrow
for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
Today, those words kept running through my mind – and then I would think
I had a little chuckle every time this happened. It was my own private joke. For years, I put a priority on spending time with my children. Rocking them, reading them books, taking them for walks, and helping them with their projects almost always took precedence over cleaning or laundry or paying bills or anything else. I loved spending time with my children as babies, toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged children, teenagers. Now, I love them as young adults. I would still be willing to drop everything to help them. The problem is, they don’t really need me with the same day-to-day urgency. I know they still need me, but now there are no little voices to charm me away from my household chores, no little fingers spreading peanut butter or paint or glitter everywhere, no little boo boos to tend to.
It’s tomorrow, the day when I have all the time I could want to devote to cleaning – and to whatever else I think is important. The realization is bittersweet. I am thankful for all the hours I was able to spend with my children when they were growing. I am thankful for the present, when I am free to spend time doing whatever I want. But, I miss those babies. I miss those precious times spent with them. I miss those excuses to skip the housework.