Family Values And Christmas Cleaning
I was brought up in the tradition of Christmas (and Easter) Cleaning.
Mind you, not just the ordinary cleaning, it was THE Cleaning. Capital C cleaning! About a week (-or two) before Christmas you would start to turn your house upside down, beating and washing the carpets (on snow, preferably), empty cupboards, washing the china you never used (and the one you did), moving all pieces of furniture to reach and dust behind, cleaning the windows, etc. You get the idea.
As a child, I had my share of chores. Although never too much or too difficult for my age, I was usually muttering against it. Yes, I knew it was done to honour Christmas, but hey! after all, it was holiday and I would have rather played in the snow!
Later I started to enjoy it. Not only I was partaking in something important – after all, it had to be, there was so much fuss about it! – but there was a great deal of satisfaction to be got from my parents’ approval. I was a good girl because I made them proud.
Later on, in my own house, I discovered I really liked cleaning it. Making the windows shine was the best part. Somehow I was feeling my own clarity increasing. Of course, I wanted my efforts to be acknowledge and appreciated as well – after all the hectic work, I deserved at least this, didn’t I?
Fast forward few years, I am alone with my half-paralysed mum (since dad died) and working 24-48 hours shifts. Life is a continuous struggle to keep myself afloat, to maintain a light and loving disposition to support my mum, earn a living and ignore my loneliness. Christmas Cleaning becomes a burden for an exhausted body, still performing it though, like a machine.
Some years after that – mum passed away, life got into another sort of normality. Different job, boyfriend and all. Christmas Cleaning still having an appearance of a hard time, due to recent memories, but with strategic planning, it’s less horrific than before.
This year, after six days of scrubbing the floors, cleaning the windows and everything in between those spots, I realize the changes. As I look deeper into myself, I know that I am content of my work. Also, it does not feel as huge, nor as super-important as before. Each surface I polish is more of a part of myself that I am getting back. A part that is getting clearer, lighter. The borders between outside and inside became a bit blurred, scrubbing and cleaning are only mirroring the cleaning/detox program I followed for these two weeks.
As I look around enjoying what I see, I realize one more thing: along with the capital “C”, another thing is lost: my need to be appreciated for my work. The deep satisfaction of knowing I did a good thorough job doesn’t need any other recognition. I KNOW I am good girl.
How are you doing your Christmas cleaning?
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