It’s Labour Day weekend in Canada and boy, have Chris and I been labouring!
We went for a long bike ride to gear up mentally for our afternoon mission – a complete clean up of our house, from top to bottom – around and through and over and under every bed, drawer, sink, couch and cupboard. What was the occasion, you ask? Well, as of this afternoon, we became empty-nesters again! It was time to clean up, put away, rearrange and hunt for the numerous long lost items like hair gel, pillow cases, dental floss, spoons, socks and dishes that have been missing for weeks.
You see, we’ve had a full house – two adult kids and our grandson – living here full time since mid-June and things got a bit tight in our small house when everyone unpacked and spread out. However, the last person stuffed our car with his suitcases, garbage bags, boxes and odd furniture pieces this afternoon and headed to his new place downtown, where all the other thousands of lawyers-to-be hang out.
I was just itching to clean (something that doesn’t happen very often) and together, Chris and I went full blast, with Chris on the vacuuming and me on the cleaning. Just as a side note, I have to say that I’ve never seen a man do a more thorough vacuuming job than my husband! I mean, we don’t have a big house and I can vacuum these two floors in ten minutes (and that usually includes a five minute distraction when I get to the kitchen and sneak a peek at my daybook) but when Chris gets a hold of that vacuum, he’s busy for about two hours, non stop – there’s not a spider web or dust particle to be seen when that vacuum gets stuffed back into the cupboard.
Anyway, it’s early evening now and we’re exhausted but we’re also feeling a great sense of accomplishment. We just finished eating a delectable “clean-out-the-vegetable-drawer–tortellini-casserole and now, I have some time to reflect on the summer.
I have to say that when I first found out that our kids were coming back for the entire summer, I was scared. I had settled into a rhythm in my writing and working days that I didn’t want disturbed. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. Being a very goal-oriented woman, I had made big plans for my summer and watching my grandson for seven weeks wasn’t one of them! Neither was cooking full meals every night, cleaning up bathrooms, picking up wet towels and spending endless hours in the grocery store, stocking up for a endless variety of different palate-pleasing foods.
I wanted to say, “no” to it all but I recognized my selfishness. Our kids needed our help for the summer and I needed to change my attitude. I also knew that I would have to put all my writing aside, otherwise I would see everything and everyone as an interruption. I knew what would happen in my heart – resentment.
So, I put away all my book writing and focused on my family.
Instead of doing what I had planned, I experienced some wonderful memory- making moments with my precious blogging grandson, I had countless opportunities to serve my kids, I was involved in some painful but honest conversations with my daughter, I shared many good meals and loads of laughs with my son and I grew spiritually because of some character-revealing personal struggles.
Now, it’s Labour Day Monday and as I sit in my very clean and organized house, I’m noticing that it’s awfully quiet…maybe too quiet. I thought I would be an elated empty nester when this day came but I’m actually feeling sad that everybody’s gone.
Must be a God-thing, this change of heart. Thank you, God for helping me to do the right thing because it was the right thing to do. Thank you, God for disturbing my lovely manicured life and reminding me that life is meant to be messy and to be lived, not just written about. Thank you, God for reminding me that the greatest use of my time this summer was to love and serve my family.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15.5