If only my mother could see me now, she would be smiling. At long last, I have become the neatnik she so tried to train and deserved to have as a daughter.Somewhat to her dismay, I spent a lot more time wanting to be a beatnik!
I was raised in a household of meticulous order, all generated by Mom.
All dishes in my childhood home were washed immediately after dinner and put away. The dishwasher would not only be run, but emptied as soon as it finished its cycle.
All clothing worn during the day was supposed to be put away too. “It’s just as easy to hang something up as it is to throw it down,” my Mom would repeat to me on a daily basis.
Beds were made right after getting dressed in the morning, and I ALWAYS got dressed before eating breakfast. Lounging about in p.j.’s was never tolerated, unless ill.
Spring and fall cleaning were done regularly. I’m talking deep cleaning. Slipcovers were put on and taken off as the season demanded, and draperies taken down at the beginning of summer, i.e. Memorial Day and put back up again soon after Labor Day.
Drawers and shelves were always lined with contact or decorative paper. Linen closet shelves even sported a tacked on decorative edging .
I never shared my Mom’s enthusiasm for such rituals, but I must say our house ran smoothly. It was a very nice place to live.
Sadly, everything changed when my Mom developed Alzheimer’s Disease. Cleanliness and neatness steadily deteriorated. My old home would never be the same. I mourned not only the loss of my mother but also the beautiful world she’d created.
It was about the time of the onset of my Mom’s Alzheimer’s, that I began traveling to Japan. Steadily, over the years, my visits there have made me care deeply about order and neatness. At last, I take pleasure from negative space. Organization can be deeply satisfying!
If Mom could see me now, she might be surprised and pleased to find my housekeeping instincts might even surpass her own criteria! If only she’d sent me to Japan as a child….
Diane,we must have had the same Mother. I,however, continued her “craziness” and still can not go to bed with dishes in the sink. During this summer’s house construction however I am learning to just walk through the dust,which will reappear immediately anyway.
Love your writing,