Cleaning with Meaning

As the school days wind down, my to-do list at home grows longer.  There are so many things I want to complete before the kids are home and we are off running on our summer excursions.  One of the dreaded tasks on that list is cleaning out each child’s bedroom.  Conventional wisdom tells me that I should give them each a giant garbage bag and have them do it themselves, however I know those bags would come back half full after 15 minutes to the joint chorus of, “I’m done!”  So I went in myself armed with a whole box of garbage bags, a serious vacuum cleaner, and an iPod set on shuffle (who knew Maverick was into 80’s metal bands?).  I dove right in and was amazed at all of the trash treasures stowed away in their rooms.   I found everything from hoarded candy to secret Lego creations to an attempt at a haiku poem.  There were nine rolls of tape, five stray socks, three billion Pokémon cards, and one school uniform shirt that had been missing since November.  While I picked up gum wrappers and balled up tissues, I couldn’t believe that these amazing little people could let three relatively small spaces get so messy.  As my mind conjured up charts and incentive plans to ensure spotless bedrooms in the future, I took a breather and sprawled out on the carpet while listening to a little ACDC (again, thanks Maverick).  From my new perspective, I no longer saw a mess.  Rather, I marveled at the pop star posters, sports memorabilia, friendship photos and favorite toys that customized each room.  Each item told a beautiful, intricate story about my kids’ personalities.  Conventional wisdom would say that is worth listening to.  This time I think I will.

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