May 13, 2012

Scrubbed clean


It’s a familiar ritual by now. Every May and August, my daughter and I pile cleaning supplies and garbage bags into the car, and we go clean the apartment that she’s moving into or the apartment she’s moving out of. We’ve done it so many times that we don’t even have to talk about which tasks we’re going to do. I start with the bathroom while she gathers any garbage and carries it to the curb.

The flat she’s been sharing with Boy-in-Black and First Extra is the bottom of an old house that was probably beautiful in its day, but is now dilapidated. When my daughter moved in, she made yellow curtains for the kitchen and we painted the cupboards blue, which improved the room considerably. The one good thing about all the rental properties in the university area is that any small effort you make is a huge improvement.

The afternoon sun was shining on the front porch when I stepped out to sweep off dead leaves and peeling paint. Through the branches of a sprawling crabapple tree, I could see a bunch of college guys carrying broken furniture to the curb. A car pulled into the house next door, and a girl in a dress stepped out, with an older couple who were likely her parents. “The graduation ceremony must be over,” my daughter said. Farther up the street, under the branches of an old maple, I could see a few more seniors, young men in dress shirts and ties.

My daughter has said that this will be the last summer she lives at home. Sailor Boy will be moving back to the area this fall, and she’ll be living with him. So I felt nostalgic as I swept the stained, scarred hardwood floors of the old house. “This might be the last time we clean an apartment together,” I said to her.

She looked at me. “Somehow, I doubt it.”


Lilian said...

yeah, why wouldn't you help her clean up her new apartment when she moves again? it will probably be different with her living with a boyfriend (and not living at home at all anymore) or when/if someday she gets married and moves into a new place.

My parents have helped us move many times... 1996, 1997, 2004, 2011. It gets harder every time because the family grows, the stuff multiplies, etc. but we have our "routines" too, my mom always helps with the kitchen and my dad disassembles the furniture and packs fragile items (WAY too well, it's a pain to unpack stuff he has packed! every. single. time!).

Oh, how I wish I didn't have to move ever again again! Sigh... 8 times in 16 years is A LOT, but way less than my poor mother-in-law (something like 21 times in 30 years or more). But I think moving it's exciting. HORRIBLY stressful, but new and fun. I secretly hope we get to move again a few times.

rented life said...

Wise words from your daughter, as I am 31 and my mom is making plans to help me move (again!) from this apartment to another. I always return the favor by helping clean her house or providing great food.

Gregory Zimmerman said...

back in our move-every-year days we figured that if it weren't for moving, the house would never get clean. now it's if it weren't for family coming to visit, the house would not get really really clean. There's kids coming to visit clean, sister coming to visit clean and mom coming to visit clean, in increasing order of cleaning.

liz said...

You'll still be cleaning with her many a time in your lives together.

BrightenedBoy said...

This is great in so many ways.