The happiest days of my life were obviously my wedding day and the 5 days I gave birth to my 5 children. Blah-blah-blah. But following those memorable days, suspiciously close, in the number 7 -? slots, are all the glorious days in my life that my cleaning lady comes.
Which is why the verbal exchange I had with my youngest child this morning was so enormously disconcerting.
Son – giving me a quick hug as he departs for a long and tedious day at the local high school:
“Can I have friends over tomorrow night?”
“Can you have friends over tomorrow?” I repeat back to him slowly, as though English is not my first language – buying myself some time – while I mentally flip through my glamorous social calendar for any and all unlikely conflicts.
(You never know, it’s possible I could be hosting a large party tomorrow night at our home, which would be entirely incompatible with his plans to have a swarm of teenage boys milling about in our driveway… unless they are a Valet Service.)
But no. So I offered up the only deterrent I could think of.
“My cleaning lady is coming tomorrow.”
It has come to my attention lately that we have a large and rowdy group of teenagers at our house every other weekend on the reg. And for some inexplicable reason, these large social gatherings are totally in sync with the schedule my cleaning lady is on. Every other Friday I pay her a handsome amount of money to clean my home and every other Friday, just a few short hours later, these kids arrive to entirely eradicate my bliss.
You just wouldn’t believe the domestic destruction. Every other Saturday morning, my home looks like a hard rock band from the 70s stayed over while blazing their way through a 38-city tour.
But, all of that aside, it was my son’s next utterance that truly filled me with the dismay that only a mother’s heart can know. I will never be able to un-hear these words:
“Do we even really need her?”
“Do we even really need her?” I repeated back slowly. Again, no comprende.
As I mulled over my response, I realized I wasn’t completely sure if he was suggesting we might not need her tomorrow, as the place looked relatively clean and presentable enough for his friends, or if he might’ve been suggesting that we might not need her EVER.
Perhaps he was insinuating that I could reasonably be expected to handle the deep-cleaning of our abode these days. (Now that all other superfluous offspring are grown and have fled the nest, and we are down to a sensible amount of children) (one) (him).
I could see where he might possibly come to this conclusion, as I was still lying in bed when he came to tell me goodbye this morning, earnestly trying to catch up on the past 30 years of no sleep.
“She needs the money, I can’t cancel on her,” I responded yanking my blanket higher around myself, somewhat defensively.
I don’t really know why I chose to answer in this manner. I just did. I actually have no idea if my cleaning lady needs the money. She might not. It’s entirely possible she shows up here every other Friday purely out of pity for me. I have a knack for bringing that out in people who aren’t my own children.
Rather than turn things around on him and ask if “we really need” a passel of teenagers here tomorrow night, I chose to take the high road and spark an intellectual discourse on Economic Interdependence in a Free Market Society. The very hallmark of superior parenting…or a guilty and exhausted mother.
For whatever reason, he chose not to engage me and left immediately for school.
There’s no way I’m letting go of my cleaning lady. It could be way worse. I can assure you, if I was the one solely responsible for cleaning this house, we would never dream of having Bad Company over here for a sleepover. Not the rock group or the local teen-scene.
Nonetheless, I might consider switching my lady to Mondays…