Day 18The cleaning saga continues. (Bear with me, this won't be boring.) This morning, at 5:30 am, it was straight from bed to coffee pot to dungeon. That is, the basement. Our friends arrive this evening and, in preparation for the evening or two that we might spend in the basement bar, it was my job to clean the "other" 1/4 of the basement, otherwise known as "sort of my 1/4 of the basement, full of my stuff plus the stuff that doesn't fit in your 3/4 of the basement." (But I love him. And needless to say, my stuff fills the rest of the house.) The basement must be cleaned lest anyone see what lurks beneath the surface.... the visual proof that, even if the kitchen is clean this week, actually the people who live in this house are insanely busy. Shhh, don't tell. It's cool.
So, there I was hefting dust monsters, strewn air conditioners, and painting equipment of every shape, size, and condition. It was so gratifying to set organization to the clutter, and I started feeling like everything else today is going to be okay, no matter what happens. I was thinking about Michele Obama's statement about taking care of her children. It went something like this, "We have to get our own house under control before we can run the White House."
Damn straight, woman. We really do have to get our houses under control first. I know too many women, including me!, who have put their own houses last. Our siblings need us, our parents need us, our friends need us. And they really do. But I know that for me, it's a very delicate job deciding whose needs matter most at any given time. Brother needs us, but so does son. Father needs us, but so does husband. Who wins? I don't know! It depends. Sometimes it depends on how much they need us and what they need us for, and we are forced into a priority game... who needs us most? And who matters most? And what about the person who has to face the fact that it is not them who matters most today?
Sometimes I even remember to ask, What do I need most?
Do you see any easy solution? I don't. Sometimes we just can't be there for some of the people who need us. It ain't easy for anyone involved, but it's the only way to prevent the basement from turning into a disaster. Sometimes, when someone needs us, even though we know it's not what we learned in Sunday School, it seems we can find only one answer: "I love you, and I hate to disappoint you, but ... " Well, let Chris Smither tell you. Sometimes bad news is best delivered in song:
If you want to see the lyrics you can find them here.