raised me right

We took 30-45 minutes this evening to clean the schoolroom for tomorrow. It’s one of those things that no one really feels like doing on a Sunday evening, but come Monday morning we’ll be so glad we did. At least I will.

Kids don’t find quite as much direct pleasure in such things, or if they do they don’t recognize it. Their enjoyment comes more indirectly, when they find a freshly vacuumed spot on the floor and with their kid instincts know this is the perfect place to play with Legos. I hope I can teach my kids not at all to be shocked by the connection and ongoing nature of work and play.

My mom used to say, “If we all take five minutes…”, and that was about as far as she’d get in her sentence before we started in with the groans. It’s honestly nothing but simple math. If there were five kids working (the sixth didn’t count because he was only a baby and the seventh wasn’t born yet), then in five minutes we could quickly get 25 minutes worth of work done.

She tried, that’s for sure. I sometimes wonder what the heck I was doing with my life with so much work at home to be done. From 7th-12th grade I was at basketball games, riding my bike, on walks with friends or at their houses. In high school there were times I didn’t want to go to school. I hadn’t finished a larger assignment, or NSYNC was going to be interviewed on the Disney channel during PE, or I truly don’t know why I didn’t. If I asked mom if I could stay home and clean the house instead, she’d let me.

This would often frustrate my friends. There was no way their moms would ever just let them stay home from school. My mom wasn’t like the other moms, as each of them were in their own way different, but I loved her more for letting me stay home. The office needed a parent’s note in order to excuse a student’s absence. Mom wrote the same note every time. It was as if mom had somehow understood, without me ever having to explain it.

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