I once heard a mom of littles say she thought she was a very good housekeeper, until their dog died and she realized it had actually been her keeping things clean under the kitchen table.
So I think we should talk about sweeping and how we need to do it every day. Even if we’ve been on vacation probably, because somehow you know the floor is going to get dirty while you’re gone.
I asked my 17-year-old son if I could have permission to talk about him and his cereal problem, which has to do with the kitchen floor, and he said, Sure.
One day I had him hold real still in the kitchen.
Shhhhh, I said. Listen.
I grabbed a Lucky Charm and dropped it onto the floor.
Did you hear that fall? I said.
Yes, he said.
Then why? I asked.
Why wouldn’t he bend down and pick up the piece of cereal that fell on the floor? He eats cereal when the house is quiet in the morning, so I know he can hear it land on the floor.
But he flashed me that charming smile that always gets him out of trouble.
Of course, this brings up another discussion we often have about the amount of cereal that should go into a bowl. I happen to think that if you bend down, eyes level to the top of the bowl, you should not be able to see the cereal at all before you’ve even poured the milk. But that is another blog post. I don’t have the emotional strength in me to talk about the floor and the cereal bowl in the same day.
So many days I step on a piece of cereal.
Then I squinch my face up crabby and try to remind myself that I love that child ever so much and will cry when he leaves for college and will long for the days of sugary cereal on the kitchen floor.
Several years ago I was in Uganda, and it was about as different from anything a girl could ever experience in Wyoming and Montana. But one thing was the same. Everywhere we went I saw women sweeping.
They have red dirt in Uganda, which may be worse than Lucky Charms.
Like the red dust that forever stained the armpit of my white shirt, from when I foolishly propped my right arm in the van window all the way from Kampala to the headwaters of the Nile.
Red dust that gets tracked into houses and stores every day.
Uganda momma’s sweep just like we do. They sweep up spilled rice and beans and red dirt.
But that messy kitchen floor means there are people around.
And I’m just about an empty nester, guys, so all of a sudden I’m thinking a clean floor is about the saddest thing a mom will ever experience.
All that to say, Let’s sweep.
Every morning or night, depending on when you’re most awake, sweep and say…
Thank God for these messy people. God bless them.
Full dust pans are a sign of the life we’ve always hoped for.