My 6-year old cleaned my bedroom the other day. She’d decided that mom and dad’s room needed an overhaul, so for an hour on a Saturday, she did the deed. We didn’t know she was doing it – we were downstairs cherishing the silence. She’d disappeared once before like that and was found sound asleep in her bed taking an impromptu nap. Usually if something bad is happening upstairs, there are telltale sounds like bumping or yelling or the ceiling shaking. In the absence of any of those, we assumed all was well. We just didn’t know how well.
She came down with a knowing smile on her face. “Guess what I did?” she asked. That’s never a good question, so my husband and I sprung to attention. We mentally scanned her for blood, broken bones, to see whether all the appropriate teeth were intact. Everything looked good. “Come, Mama,” she beckoned me, taking my hand. The hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention, the same way they do when I’m entering a hospital room or are being shown the stirrups (yes, THOSE stirrups).
My door was closed. I looked around for the cat, who has been taken prisoner so many times I can visualize black and white prisoner stripes on her fur. Nope – the cat was behind us. My daughter was beaming. “Presenting….your room,” she said with a flourish as she threw open the door.
The bed had been made. The night tables had been dusted. The miasma of papers, bottles, and chargers beside my bed had meticulously been put away or arranged into neat piles. My dresser had been cleaned of the usual piles of clothes waiting to be mended, empty glasses to be brought downstairs, and TV/DVD remote controls. My drawers, usually overflowing with clothes, had actually be CLOSED. Cedar chest at the foot of the bed was empty of the basket of clean clothes. Only my husband’s tall dresser, which my child is too small to reach, remained untouched.
She swelled with pride at the look on my face as I took in the miracle before me. “I can’t believe you did this! HOW did you do this?” I exclaimed. “I thought you needed some help,” she said. “So I did this for you.” The detailed explanation of exactly how the task was accomplished became white noise as I gazed in awe at the room.
Part of me was embarrassed. Yes, I channel Oscar Madison from the Odd Couple, but it’s not something I really like to face. Our house looks…lived in. My husband long ago begrudgingly accepted the fact that having a wife who does not work does not mean Donna Reed or June Cleaver lives here.
Most of me, however, was incredibly proud. Diva is the more…challenging child. She is the one I butt heads with on a minute-by-minute basis. She is brilliant, beautiful, and exceptionally strong-willed. Her super-human spirit is a force to be reckoned with and showing her how to properly channel it, because a child’s will should NEVER be “broken,” is a constant work in progress.
Cleaning my bedroom was a monumental feat for my little girl. She threw her indomitable spirit into doing something wonderful for the two people she loves. We lavished her with praise and she was radiant with pride at the acknowledgement of what she had done. Out of the goodness of her heart she had taken her talents and used them where it was most needed. My daughter and I came together in love in a way we never have before. Outside of her very being, it may be the greatest gift she’s ever given me.
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog.