Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cleaning and Scrubbing

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'til tomorrow

For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow

So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep

I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep

When I was a kid, my mom had a wall hanging with the above poem on it. Sometimes I would find myself staring at the woman who sits next to the words. She's rocking her baby. She's my mom. I can tell by her hair, if nothing else. Even as a small child I somehow understood the sentiment of the poem. I think, however, that I only comprehended it from the baby's side of things. Chores, homework, bathing. These things were not important. No. What was important were family vacations, gathering around the dinner table, playing games together. The dust could sleep. I didn't care. I was growing up and I was being rocked.

My mom loaned the wall hanging to me and it now hangs above my son's crib. I get it. From the mom's point of view. I think my house has been cleaned...I mean really cleaned...once in the past eight weeks. And 75 percent of that was thanks to my husband. The only chore I perform on a consistent basis is laundry and that's because my son spits up on everything in sight and he'd be perpetually naked if I didn't wash his clothes...three times a week. I get it. The house needs to be deep cleaned before we all inhale those cobwebs and sleeping dust. Yet, instead of scrubbing, Garrett took a nap on my chest. Instead of cleaning, we took the dog for a walk. While the cobwebs quieted down, I got the baby dressed and was distracted by his giant smiles for longer than just a couple of minutes. And while the dust took a nap, I decided to write this. I could be cleaning. I could be scrubbing. Garrett is asleep in the stroller (exhausted from learning how to walk the dog) so I should capitalize on such a fortuitous situation. But I'm not. I'm writing. Because one day all of this will be a distant memory. One day I will dust away the cobwebs in my memory and only be able to catch a glimpse of what Garrett was like as an eight week old boy. So I choose to write. I choose to remember, because my baby won't keep. And from somewhere just beyond the room I'm in, he has started to cry, as if to put a period on the end of my memory. These are the fleeting days and so, I will dust tomorrow.

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