Friday, September 15, 2006

The Queen of Clean

is my mother. When I was growing up, our house was clean. I mean really clean. It was both sanitary and clutter free. My mother spent the majority of each day cleaning, what to my eyes as a child, was a completely clean house. Our house was Better Homes and Gardens clean. The President could have stopped by at any moment and my mom would not have been embarrassed by the state of her house.

My mother always walked around the house picking things up. If my brother or I left our books, toys, or other childish clutter around, my mother picked it up and put it away, or told us to do so. If we left a glass of water on the table, and left the room for a moment, my mother emptied it and put it in the dishwasher.

I loved to go to other people’s houses, and was always interested to learn that they weren’t necessarily clean all of the time. You see, I thought that everyone’s house was as clean as ours. I was especially fascinated by my friends’ rooms. Not only were they not always clean, sometimes they were downright disaster areas. Ann, my best friend Allison’s mom, loves to tell the story to this day about the night I stayed over at her house and we pre-teens slept among the piles of clean laundry that Allison had not yet folded and put away. This was a totally alien experience for me. My mom would have been horrified if the clean laundry was not neatly folded and put away immediately in an orderly fashion, in militarily neat dresser drawers. Did you know that some people just toss their socks and under things into drawers without folding them? I never knew this until I was in college and had a roommate.

When I turned eight or so, I got to help clean the perfectly clean house. Of course, I thought this pointless. The house was clean already. My room was clean. I was not allowed to let my room get dirty.

So, kids do one of two things; they either become like their parents, or they become reactionary to them. Where do you suppose I landed?

Oh, and by the way, I have a friend who says my mom cannot be the Queen of Clean, because his mom is the Queen of Clean. You mean there are two of them?

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