If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy

  • Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What child doesnít want to please her mother? I think itís both instinctive and touching. Starting around first or second grade, I realized the best route to my Mamaís heart was to clean my bedroom (or a portion thereof) and then call her in. ďMama, I have a surprise for you!Ē She would then ooh and aah, tell me what a Ďgood girlí I was and give me a huge smile. I beamed with pride.

Too bad I wasnít quite as focused on my grades. The last thing I wanted to do in school ó or at home, for that matter ó was pay attention and study. A classic case of A.D.D.? Perhaps. But that was long before A.D.D. was even heard of.

Since those early days, Iíve taken really good care of things I own: be it my car, home, clothes, etc. Almost to the point of perfection. Early in our marriage, most Friday nights I spent vacuuming and dusting. Russell never complained and even helped me sometimes. He had the same compulsion about cleaning his golf clubs. Weíve both improved in that regard.

Now, fast forward fifty-plus years. I still like my house clean, but Iíve wised up. Paraphrasing: I kick large dust bunnies under the sofa; and after sweeping the kitchen ó well, whatís a little sand and grime swept under the fridge? Why not wait and clean it all at once, years down the road?

And that self-cleaning oven, well ó thatís a joke. In seven years, itís never once cleaned itself and thatís the very reason I bought it. Honestly! False advertising!

But where I allow myself to be a full-fledged Messy Mary is in my easy chair where my (maternal) Grandmother Julia Margaretís marble-topped table stands next to. On top of that is my favorite wicker tray ó Iím a tray (and box) girl. Love them both. In fact, I didnít realize other people had such obsessions until my BFF, Carol, displayed the same tendencies.

Whereas my work space is my chair, table and tray, my motherís work space was her sewing machine, stool and cabinet. This area held folds of fabric as well as needles, thread, bobbins and patterns. She sat there daily sewing clothes for us three daughters, as well as for herself. She also cooked supper every single night (family of six) and kept our house spic and span. No wonder she loved for me to clean my bedroom.

My wicker tray holds an assortment of items I use daily. One favorite is my hand-painted glass with the FROU lady that holds my pens. I painted this for a fundraiser at Cabana Gauze in Pawleys Island. I actually painted two and kept one for myself.

Thereís also a ruler ícause I made a graph the other day on blank paper with columns reflecting books ordered, books mailed and payment received. Eventually Iíll type it into Excel, when my A.D.D. ó and my procrastination disorder ó improve.

Thereís a yellow highlighter for speaking engagements, which are written with full details, in my desk calendar. I say Ďfull detailsí because I showed up at the wrong hotel a few months back for a huge talk ó a medical conference with about 250 people waiting for my arrival. Then, taa-dah! I literally ó and I do mean literally (ícause I hate it when people misuse that word) ó ran down the aisle to the podium.

Also in the tray: receipts I need to enter for various purchases, emails I need to take action on, a newspaper section that tells us whatís happening today in sunny Wilmington. Oops! I forgot the St. Patrickís parade downtown this morning. There are sticky notes with ideas for columns and some for speaking engagements, plus phone numbers for contacts. Thereís also a calculator. Yeah. Thatís important. I once sent an invoice to a bookstore and short-changed myself one book due to my non-math multiplication skills.

Thereís the Sasee editorial calendar, hence, this column. Iím double checking; but yes, I got the deadline and the theme correct.

To the average person, my work place might look messy, but so what? Itís my house and if Mamaís happy ó ainít everybody supposed to be happy? Even Russell has mellowed over the years. All I have to do is throw him a pork chop now and then and heís happy too.

But back to Mom: I get a huge grin from her these days by simply showing up for a visit at her assisted living facility. She hugs me tightly, tears up a little and says, ďAnn, I am so glad to see you.Ē And thatís the purest form of love.

Ann Ipock ďLife is Short, I Wish I Was TallerĒ www.annipock.com amipock@ec.rr.com

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