That’s right. Twelve days of sweeping…
Its a habit I would seriously like to adopt. A habit is acquired by doing, (I think I’ve heard it takes 21 days.) I figured a good way to get into the habit of sweeping my kitchen floor every night would be to document the crap I sweep up. Hey, why not? Why twelve days? Because 13 is unlucky, and 11 just doesn’t seem like enough. And because I know you certainly don’t want to see 21 pictures of junk.
I see: various lids, a wooden spoon, scrambled eggs, spinach, a carrot, large spinach twisty-tie, Styrofoam, crumbs, Reese’s peanut butter cup wrapper, Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer magnet tool, foam letter puzzle pieces, paper towel. What a mess. I did not sign up for this!
Day 2: More junk. Seriously?
Today’s selection includes: a grape vine, that darn spinach twisty tie (again!) styrofoam (she keeps playing with it. is this stuff recyclable?!), lid to a box my daughter colored, (I really want to throw it away and where is the box anyway?!) broccoli, a paintbrush wrapped in a pink washcloth, (No, I did not stage that!) dried up play dough, bits of tortilla, a plastic bag, paper towel, Kleenex and bits of cereal.
Day 3: A paradigm shift.
I see so much more than just garbage, crumbs and my daughter’s toys today. I am not sure what has changed. Perhaps it is that I got more than 5 hours of sleep last night. Or it could be that I am needing to learn something from this silly 12 Days of Sweeping deal I have made with myself, and this is the beginning of it.
Today I see a love note from my daughter. That silly bracelet that is too big for her little wrist. It seems to gaze up at me sending me a sweet message of gratitude and love. I’ll take it.
Day 4: There is that blasted play dough squisher tool thingy. It always breaks. It always breaks because she is always playing with it. I am reminded that I too had a toy just like that when I was a child. And I too loved to play with play dough. I would squish out long strands of spaghetti, worms and snakes through the little holes. It was so much fun! I loved the feel of that stuff between my fingers. Today I see that she is just like me. We both like the same things and I am so excited about that. I wonder what other loves we will share in this life. How will those things bind us closer?
Days 5 & 6: A sock. I wonder where its mate is? Food remnants. A popsicle handle. A napkin that looks like it never got used. A tissue-paper rose from grandma’s 80th Birthday Bash. That was a great birthday party to attend. My mind is flooded with gratitude for being able to know this wonderful, strong woman. Her legacy is amazing. Her quiet dignity such a great example to me. I am happy that my daughter has been able to get to know her. How my daughter shows her how she can ride her bike, pick peas and berries from her garden and help with Apple Day. I am snapped back to sweeping at the thought that this woman had 12 children…her floor probably looked a lot worse than mine at the end of the day! Today’s lesson: This really isn’t that bad.
Day 7: Popsicle top. My son and daughter play with these things every day. I find them laying around in various rooms. I am amazed that something so simple can provide such entertainment. I wonder, why do I buy actual toys? Why?! Some tinsel from my daughter’s pompom. She was having a blast shaking those things around in my face and her brother’s. I remember turning on some music and we shook our tooties and pompoms, dancing like it was 1999. I sweep and I remember these moments. They all are staring me back in my face.
“Oh yeah, it was a good day!”
Day 8: I must not have been home much today. A pea. Some carrot peels. Some days are just not messy, and that makes me happy. That is a real life lesson.
Day 9: Pez dispenser. Green beans. A bouncy ball. Lunch and prizes from the Treasure Box for good behavior. It is about time I start teaching my daughter about being responsible for her things. We are working on the value of things. Particularly the value of things that she works for. Teaching a three year old the value of work, and what we can earn when we work hard can be tricky, but fun too.
Speaking of the value of work, I really don’t like sweeping, but I am learning to like where my mind takes me while I do it.
Day 10: We snacked. I see that most of the piles of junk I sweep up contain food. I see what my children are eating and take comfort that the food is mostly good, wholesome and nutritious. I think about how I have the control in my home what I bring home from the grocery store. I wonder what my kitchen would contain if my husband did the grocery shopping. I wonder if I could trade him for a month to see. I’ll do his job (trash/recycling) and he does the shopping. Part of me is curious, and the other part knows we’d end up with frozen pizza, pasta roni and grape drink. Am I willing to let him do that? I think not. We’ve got a good thing going, and I think we’ll stick to it. And really? Who am I kidding? He’d never take me up on the deal anyway! Lucky for me.
Day 11: Evidence of good behavior. Three “tokens” (don’t judge me! poker chips work great!) I laugh at the irony as I sweep up the tokens. She earned these today for showing me that she could be responsible for her belongings. Hang up your coat. Put your boots by the door. Clear your dishes. Put your laundry away. She did all of those things. So why the tokens on the floor? What am I missing here? And then I realize that I don’t care. She earned those tokens fair and square and my heart smiled so big, right along side hers when I gave her the recognition. I too am finding ways to be motivated by small rewards along the way.
Day 12: A clean slate. Tomorrow is a new day.
My twelve day journey of sweeping did more for me than create a clean floor. I learned to recall the beautiful moments throughout the day. In so doing, I feel so grateful for my simple, cluttered life. My children are everywhere, stuff is everywhere. Many days I feel sometimes are just a barrage of me chasing my kids down and keeping things put away. (But mostly I am unsuccessful at that.) In taking the time each evening after the children have been tucked in to grab my broom and dust pan I have given myself a gift. A gift of quiet. A gift of reflection and breath. And that was something completely unexpected.
And now it is time for me to go sweep my floor.