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Letting kids go

Priorities change with the times, that’s a given. Have you reviewed your priorities lately? After you are gone, do you hope people remember you for the time you spent with your family or how immaculate you kept your house?

Back when I had nothing much else to do, I was an excellent housekeeper, cleaning the entire house twice a week. After our babies came along, I concentrated more on clean floors than dusting the tops of shelves; it wasn’t fun for them to crawl on a dirt-speckled floor and no one could see the shelf tops. The year that got me off track as far as cleaning went was a benchmark year. That was when one son got out of kindergarten at 11 a.m., I had to drive to the school to get him, and when he got home, he was ready for dinner. At noon my husband (and any seed corn dealers, equipment salesmen or bankers that had shown up about eating time) came in for dinner. Once I got the second set of meal remnants cleaned up and a load of laundry done, it was time to fetch the other son from school around 2 p.m. Natually, he needed food. Then it was off to the field to give a snack and coffee to my husband in the field. That allowed for a little family time when the older son could tell him about his school day and we could find out what chores or errands the rest of the day held for us.

None of this was earth-shaking work, just time-consuming yet totally necessary, and it allowed for little else. Day by day my housework took a hit. Instead of twice a week, Saturdays were relegated to cleaning day. Once the kids got older and Saturdays became full of school activities, 4-H, cattlework, farming and ranching, even my Saturday cleaning was sporadic.

When I was a grandma with toddlers around, I went back to a priority of squeaky clean floors. “My house is dirty enough to be happy and clean enough to be healthy,” is one way I could put it. We enjoy our home and we use it. Cleaning floors is a necessity, dusting is not. After all, what is dust but a protective coating for furniture?

At this time of year when mamas are sending their ‘babies’ off to college or vocational school for the first time, the memories flood along with the tears. The first steps, first day of kindergarten, middle school and high school pass through a mama’s mind in a review of milestones. As mamas look back, the reflections likely will mirror this.

The author is unknown, and I’ve taken a liberty with the poem, this pretty much sums up a good mama’s philosophy:

Babies Don’t Keep

Cleaning and scrubbing

Can wait till tomorrow,

For babies grow up

We’ve learned to our joy.

So quiet down cobwebs,

Dust go to sleep,

I’m rocking my grand-girl,

Such babies don’t keep. ❖


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