I know this is not a sentiment often heard, but for me, it's the truth.
Long before the sun stretches from its slumber and warms the morning sky, I eagerly spring from my bed into uniform: one ribbed, power-blue, long-sleeved shirt, which swims beneath a lived-in, loved on Pepperdine t-shirt. I don a pair of used-to-be-black Capri pants, which loosely hang from drawstring at my waist, and two red-banded, stretched-out heather gray socks, which swallow my calves and limply pool around my ankles. Tightly tied around my head is a sky blue, paisley bandanna, which almost matches my undershirt and secures loose tendrils in place that threaten to escape from the coif atop my head. My feet are shod with house slippers that almost match the faded, muted, black(ish) of my pants. Finally, two tiny white pearls, which conspicuously stand against the ebony backdrop of my earlobes, accentuate a sporadic spattering of head-to-toe bleach stains and pull together the perfect outfit for one of my favorite occasions: cleaning day!
My Mondays begin with a tall glass of water and hearty bowl of oatmeal, and they proceed with a second precious commodity: time - time to think, time to write, time to read, time to pray, time to work out, and finally, time to clean.
Paul is on deck to hustle with the bustle of 7 a.m. (a.k.a. groggy, empty bellied, pint-sized, caramel latte kiddos longing to be loved, fed, groomed and dressed), so I – gloved from fingertips up to elbows with squeaky, yellow rubber and equipped with sponges, brushes, rags and an assortment of cleaning products – am carefree and poised to tackle another Monday as the sun and my children arise.
Almost immediately, I am swept away on the tides of a to-do list through the paradise of Pine Sol to the universe of my thoughts. I frolic through lush landscapes of laundry and get lost - in audiobooks and dreams and gratitude. I wash and rinse; I get down and dirty, and I have grown to love it. High on life (and fumes), I feel thankful for toilets to scrub, carpets to clean, clothes to fold and the time and space in which to get it done. As I complete tasks, I delight in the simple pleasures of productivity, efficiency and teamwork. Awestruck, I get to witness the systematic transmutation of chaos to temporary order – of night sky to morning sun - and it is beautiful.
This particular Monday, as another outstanding morning of cleaning neared its conclusion, I ascended the stairs enveloped in my thoughts with a growling vacuum in tow.
I was stripped from my ethereal Eden and wisked back to Westminster, as a red blur whizzed by my face and brought me back to the present.
Screams… the thunder of running feet… discord… my son barrel rolls over the back of the couch and lands to the floor with a thud.
Just then, another projectile – orange this time (I think) – is launched from the lower level of my house over my head, and strikes the ground with a second thud.
Chortles and giggles squeak from behind the couch.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Maya, with the grace and silence of a jungle cat, slink across the living room from the coat closet to the shelter of the TV hutch. Immediately behind and in contrast to her, Cole bellows a tribal roar as he springs from his hiding place and leaps back onto the couch. This time, he is struck squarely in the chest with a black, foam ball. He shrieks, clutches his chest and drops to the cushion below, as a chorus of hearty belly laughter erupts from the couch, from behind the TV and from the family room.
Aha… Dodge Ball. The only rule is that the game is over when somebody cries.
As I watch the game play out from the stairs, still delighting from another delicious Monday morning, my cup runs over. I can’t help but to join in the chorus; I laugh until I cry.
The vacuum drones on.
On this particular Monday, I feel especially thankful that the Monday mornings of old – dreary, bleary and drab – are long gone. Today they are a colorful, creative, chaotic… and clean. I am thankful for the one-sided world in which I delight - of cleaning days and quiet times and story times and quality time, of sunshine and good nutrition, of museums and parks, of bike rides and of long hikes. I am equally thankful that Paul periodically rescues us with moments of commotion and clutter, of adventure and dance parties. He brings peanut butter and jelly and side ponytails and dodge ball to Monday mornings, and they are just beautiful.
Shortly after I climb and clean the last few stair steps, I emerge triumphantly on the landing. I look down just as my teammate - my husband, my best friend and my partner - assumes his pitcher’s stance, and looks up. I grab hold of his gleaming baby blues on this particular Monday, and I hold on tight. He smiles, and my heart races. I am in love.
I smile back, round the corner and head for the showers.