I love and adore my sister Jeanne, I truly do. She is an outstanding big sister. She has my back, she spoils me, and I have no doubt she is my cheerleader for life. She bought me my first bra for goodness sake! But every once in a while, she really gets on my nerves. Like when she tells me – over and over again – that I am OCD when it comes to cleaning. All I have to do is mention in a phone conversation that I’m going to wash the kitchen floor that day and she is off. “Again??? All you ever do is wash that floor!” And she proceeds to tell me how OCD I am, that I clean way too much. Her persistent haranguing on this caused me to go over her head, right to the top. While out on a morning walk, I asked Mr. Smith if he agreed with her diagnosis. “Well, you can be a little obsessive.” Hmmm.
I decided this called for some investigation. I Googled OCD and read over the list of ten symptoms. I am not a mental health professional, but I believe I can emphatically state that I am not OCD. I simply like things the way I like them. Perhaps a better description of me would be persnickety: placing too much emphasis on the trivial or minor details; fussy; requiring a particularly precise or careful approach.
I apparently started on the road to domesticity at a young age. I’m not sure who scooted me up to the sink in this picture, but there is a good chance it was my sister. Perhaps she is concerned I may be OCD because she put me on the path!
I quickly graduated to the fashionable ruffled apron.
It was somewhat disconcerting to come across this description in my baby book, written by Jeanne stating that I had “Special Interests” in housekeeping. Interesting…
I wish she had dated the entry. I like to think I was much more interesting than that! I don’t remember ever really thinking that much about housekeeping while growing up. Then, shortly after my marriage to Mr. Smith, my Aunt Ruby asked me if I was a good housekeeper. I was a bit nonplussed. It wasn’t on my list of attributes of a good wife. I considered it more of a 1950s value than a 1980s value.
A few years later when Mr. Smith and I were building a life together based around our three young sons, Aunt Ruby’s words came back to me. At this point in time I reflected that while I might not be a good housekeeper, I was a good homemaker. We had created a space to raise our sons that was safe, welcoming and filled with love. And yes, it was cleaned regularly. Not just by me, but also by our sons. They all washed floors, cleaned bathrooms and did laundry. Maybe not quite how I would have, but that’s ok.
Now Mr. Smith and I are weathering the pandemic in our nest, an oasis of sorts. We have filled it with his photography, pottery we have collected, and beautiful music. I have a penchant for lovely table linens and yummy sheets. I love lightening candles, pouring some wine and enjoying the view. And for me, cleaning is just a part of keeping our home comfortable and cozy. I’ve decided to embrace my crown as queen of my castle. Now if I can just find my apron!
C’est la vie.