The other morning I woke up excited for the weekend. My husband and I were going away for our 21st wedding anniversary. I mentally went through the checklist in my head. Dog sitter for the puppy during the day. Check. Bags packed and hotel reservation made. Check. Driving daughter has instructions to pick up her sister when and where. Check. House cleaner scheduled to come (gift from my surrogate mother) because house guests were coming following day. Check. All was right with my world. Now, lest you think I’m a bit anal you need to know I’ve come miles from when Tim and I first got married.
Yes, I’m a bit CDO (that is OCD for those of you who don’t know but it’s in alphabetical order…the way it should be.) I used to be worse—picture Monk meets Carol Brady. House meticulously cleaned, cabinets labeled with the label maker and clothes in the closet organized by season, color and style. Okay, I admit my clothes are still organized in that fashion but I’ve given up labeling my cabinets. No need to anymore…everyone in the family knows where things get put away. *wink. The house is organized but by no means meticulous—we have an 11 week old yellow lab puppy which allows for paw prints on my dark cherry wood flooring. My husband asked me this morning if I love our daughter or am just a little bit crazy. I replied a little bit of both. Thankfully, she takes very good care of her dog and does a great job cleaning up after her…most days. But, I digress.
All was right with my world when the phone call came—the cleaning lady was not going to be able to come today. She had a family emergency. All in all, I admit, it was a pretty good excuse. But, the CDO in me was rearing it’s ugly head. We were having company the next day—how could I host them if my house was, gasp, dirty!! I decided to focus on what I was thankful for at the moment. Currently, the puppy had already gone to puppy day care so she wasn’t at the side of the bed lurching her body towards mine attempting to catapult herself on our bed. Next, my husband had taken the day off so we could go out of town for our anniversary—score, he’d be able to help me quickly clean the house. I launched myself out of bed like a piece of bread flying out of the toaster and set myself to task…after I made my coffee, of course. My brain went into gear, made a list for the hubby and within an hour and a half the house was clean (except for the bathrooms which my darling daughter and her rambunctious pooch were going to get to clean later).
Looking back, the house is not perfectly clean—it cannot be. We have a Siamese cat, a new puppy and an African Grey parrot that loves to fling items at the other animals in the house. (he calls for them in my voice and when they come flying around the corner he launches his toys at them. The cat has figured out his game plan but the puppy has not and Solomon (the parrot) really finds the game quite fun.) I’m not sure I’ve really changed all that much. My default mode is to obsess about things I cannot control. But my coping mechanism has changed. I’ve realized that I’m not the only one who lives in my house—my family lives here too. I have a choice to make each day. I can obsess about the fact that they don’t share my love for a clean house and make them all miserable or I can decide that I would rather live with them…and a slightly ‘lived in’ house…than live without them. It’s a tension in my life that is not going to go away and how I deal with it will not only help me grow in character but will also show my family I love them more than a clean, organized Carol Brady meets Monk kind of house.
What do you need to let go of in your life to let your family know you love them?