I have had the same process for the last 3 years every weekend that my girls go to their Dad’s house. After they leave I go to their bedrooms. I begin by gathering all their dirty clothes and bedding, and do 2 loads of laundry. While they wash I go through and clean up the clutter from the tops of their desks and dressers, putting it away. Then, I vacuum corners, ceilings, and underneath beds. When the laundry is done drying, I remake their clean beds, and put away their clothes. Sometimes pausing and picturing them in a favorite shirt or sweater, and smiling at a memory of where they were, or what we did the last time they wore it. Sometimes, I will leave them a note or a small gift. And then, before moving on, I stop and look at their room from the doorway. I picture them coming home, immediately fishing out some toys, or drawing supplies and hopping up and messing up their bedding (if the dog hasn’t already beaten them to it). There is joy in the knowledge that within a few days they will once again claim and mess that space.
You would think it would be slightly annoying knowing that all the work I have done will surely be undone within a few moments of their arrival back, but yet each time I find joy in the chore.
I do it for me just as much as for them. It reminds me every time, that they have never stopped, and will never stop being my top priority. And I feel like while I am serving them in this way a piece of them is always home with me.
But, I truly didn’t think they cared. Until this past fall when my oldest daughter handed me a letter. And it took all I had not to break down in tears. She wrote about how much it meant to her that I always made sure she came home to a space that was ready, about how it let her know just how much I loved her. She loved knowing that I was thinking about her when she was gone.
All too often we, as Mothers, assume our work goes unnoticed. But, for a moment in time I was reminded that our actions speak loud. That the tedious and tiring work of caring for those we love the most, is seen and appreciated.
The biggest reason I do this, isn’t really for them now, but it is for the women they are growing up to be. I want them to know without a doubt, that no matter where they go in life, no matter how long they are gone, or what they are doing, that here with me, they will always have a place prepared for them. Here, with me, they will always have a home.
For a mother, an act as simple as making the bed can speak volumes.