Tag Archives: chores

Puzzling musings

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Whenever I have some “down” time I feel guilty, like I have to fill the minutes with
some important chore. Even as a child, I felt compelled to always be doing something
productive. I remember once (I was a pre-teen) my parents had a party and they had
about 40 guests. When the party was over, it was late. My mother took one look at
the kitchen, with its dozens of dirty plates and glasses, sighed and said she would
clean up in the morning. I don’t know if I imagined it or if it was true, but when the
morning arrived, Mom was pretty upset by being confronted by the mess! We did
not have a dishwasher yet and although she never said it, I suppose part of the reason
she was cranky was that she might have been suffering from a hangover!

My parents enjoyed entertaining so that parties and social gatherings at our house
were common. Mom’s reaction after guests left was always the same: she would take
care of the mess in the morning. I don’t remember when I actually began to clean up
the kitchen so that when she woke up the next morning, all was in order. I do remember,
however, that my life was always that much more pleasant as I didn’t have to deal with
her “whine” which was worse than any yelling she did. I’m not sure where my Dad was
in all this, though I do recall that before the parties, he would be the one vacuuming the
rugs!

In those early teenage years, I established a personal habit that requires my kitchen
sink to be clear of dishes and the kitchen itself to be clean. Since my parents both worked
outside the home, we had our “chores” to make sure the home was functional. I don’t know
when it became my self-appointed responsibility but as long as I lived at home, no one had
to deal with dirty dishes or greasy counters or tables full of crumbs. I remember my older
sister referring to me as “Cinderella” more than once in her inimitable sarcastic manner.
My parents purchased our first dishwasher during the days that I found myself recovering
in the hospital after an operation. I have never believed in coincidences!

As I write these musings down, I am filled with frustration and confusion. When and why
did I decide to take over management of the house? Was the fact that I was such an affable
take-charge individual the reason for my elder sibling’s jealousy? I learned early on that my
sister was not on my side, so I did everything I could to keep her from physically harming
me. I would do my chores and hers. I would give up my “leisure” time in order to get her
out of the many scrapes she got into. I would save my allowance to have it taken away from
me by her because she spent hers quickly. I would not refuse my mother’s requests that my
older sister go with me places because my mom convinced me that I was the lucky one who
made friends easily and had to be the “good” sister. It took getting to age 60 before I accepted
that my sister and I have no real bond. It was a sad realization, one that I still have trouble
coming to terms with, after all, aren’t sisters supposed to be friends and have each other’s
best interest at heart?

Going off into these stream of consciousness reveries have become very cathartic. I feel I
can only heal by writing and more importantly by writing publicly. My sister and I have been
estranged on and off several times over the years. The estrangements have always been a
source of great peace and tranquility for me and have lasted as long as she has had no need of
something only I can provide. I feel in my heart that there won’t be a next time, that she can
now enlist the help of one of our two younger siblings and I don’t know why I didn’t think of
that years ago. It feels good to get it out and down on paper…and out into the ether to see
where it lands. I am sure I am not the only one in the universe who has a less-than-stellar
relationship with an older sister, but I can bet it didn’t take others as long as it did me to
finally give up and move on!

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Happy Noise Pollution!

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My husband is away this week so I’ve been taking care of the many things he
is usually in charge of. That includes getting up around 5:30 a.m. to make the
coffee and let our dog out for a run and then feeding her. This morning, I am
keenly aware of the many birds we have on our property that are usually gone
by the time I make my appearance a couple of hours later.

I am amazed by how many different songs there are and just how loud they can
be. Their joy is immense and I suppose all the reforestation we have done over
the years has made our grounds a safe haven for all of them. It is incredible to
observe them flying joyfully from tree branch to tree branch, partaking and
sharing in Nature’s Bounty without ever getting into each other’s way. I feel so
grateful for this Tropical Paradise that never lets me down. I breathe in the
goodness that permits me to forget the chaos of the world as I welcome the
strong sensations of peace deep in my soul.

This week has been an unexpected opportunity to connect with the very fibers
of my being, to delve deep within myself in silence and calm to discern and try
to prioritize the things in  my life that bring me contentment and strength. I
bless everyone and everything in this moment as I begin the daily routine that
I have come to appreciate.

Have a good day.

 

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A hurried childhood

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I had a friend visit me on Saturday afternoon. We enjoyed coffee and pastries
and talked about our respective childhoods. I am not sure why we ventured on
this particular topic but after our visit was over, I noticed that I was feeling a bit
guilty about some of the things I shared. In retrospect, however, it has become
apparent that there are things about my childhood that I hold on to and that are
actually therapeutic to get out of me into the open.

One of my observations to myself this morning is that I really was robbed of my
childhood. At a time when I should have been bored by the long summer days of
gazing into the atmosphere with nothing to do like my classmates, I was instead
doing errands or chores because there was no one at home to take care of those
things, both parents working, older sibling out having fun, younger siblings needing
supervision and snacks. I was too busy to resent it, really, though it did take a toll
on me and my idea of what childhood should be. As a consequence, I grew up to be
a very responsible and serious woman, although I do know how to enjoy myself also.

I am one of those people who can be counted on. I know this is a blessing to many
but it is often a burden to me. Right now, my husband is traveling. Due to that, all
the responsibility for managing our complex household and pet falls on me. I don’t mind
it; it actually makes me very organized because I want to do all the “extra” duties I have
and still have time left over to indulge in the things I want to do like writing my blogs.

Because I grew up mostly without television, I didn’t know who Mister Rogers was
until after I saw the parody Eddie Murphy did on SNL. I suppose I looked him (Fred)
up or was somehow exposed to him by some young mother colleague of mine. I became
an instant fan of Fred Rogers and I credit him with my penchant for having a proper
house wardrobe that I will only change into when I am ready to relax. I actually dress
to shoes every single day even if there is nothing on my agenda but doing laundry. Hey,
you never know when someone is going to come to the door and ask you to go somewhere
exciting but it has to be quickly. I love the transition magic that Fred Rogers employed
when he changed to sneakers and donned his cardigan. When my children were young,
they began to understand and know by what I was wearing (a caftan or duster) whether
I was really home and relaxing. Although my style of housedress has changed over the
years, the comfort they take when they see me via skype or facetime wearing home
clothes is palpable. Who knew Eddie Murphy would have this kind of influence in my
life!