the cleanliness threshold, you know the one, the breaking point where you just absolutely HAVE to get down on your hands and knees and scrub. it is different for everyone and it seems we don’t necessarily marry or give birth to folks with the same threshold. so we charge through family life sharing space and knowing we might or might not kick one of our beloved over the edge with nothing but the best intentions.
before i go further with my story, i know it is time for some self reflection (and in case i wasn’t heading in that direction, my dear sister in law just read over my shoulder and reminded me to). my threshold is pretty high. paul’s is lower, madeline’s is higher. hands down the neatest member of the family is sasha, william is still too young to call. all of that is to say, i don’t love cleaning. i put it off. my daily to do list can be so long, once i power through each day, (which does include lots of said work: in addition to the basics of keeping a family of 5 fed and cared for, we milk a cow, lots of washing and sterilizing there friends!) i settle in to other, non tidy tasks. i am guilty of letting the piles get bigger. the deep cleaning, the floor washing, the wall scrubbing, that sneaks further and further to the list’s bottom. i am not necessarily proud of this part of myself. i work hard at keeping a tidy home, really i do, but not as hard as others might like.
enter family time. each february our sister and brother-in-law with their daughter come for a mid winter break kentucky style. sometimes we are trapped indoors, but this glorious week past we have had near perfect conditions and tons of tasks have been made fun and delightful with our big family group. today, a sunny sunday, phoebe entered just past the crack of dawn, awaited the requisite hot coffee and got right to it. of all my friends and relatives, phoebe’s threshold is the lowest. she LOVES cleanliness and order so much, she even enjoys cleaning for others (or at least for me anyway). no family vacation is complete without an aunt phoebe do-over and boy has this been a good one. it was thorough. it was fun.
i think it takes a special amount of love in a relationship to handle some of these daily life issues. i am lucky to have a sister in law i know and love so well. i take no offense as she mercilessly scours my home for outdated toys, single shoes, dust bunnies. she judges me not when she finds and disposes of these horrors.
lest you think this family time was all scrubbing, there was plenty of farm based get dirty kind of fun.
we bid these dears a sad farewell tomorrow morn, they leave us with a heart full of love, another delightful collection of memories, and a clean house.