One day my brother stopped over for a cup of coffee. Like most visitors, he sat at the kitchen island while I brewed up a cup. Or maybe it was a pot of tea. I offered him a cookie or a piece of cake. The exact morsel is unclear. What is clear is that at some point between sipping his hot beverage and standing up to leave, he swept some crumbs off the island and onto the floor. It happened in an instant, like an elbow jerking after the doctor taps it with a rubber mallet.
It was shocking to me, but what could I say? He was a guest.
In a similar striking instant, he realized his faux pas and said “did I just sweep crumbs on your floor?”
We both laughed. I probably said “no worries.”
Inside, I was tossed about like a tempest because…well…I am a little bit of a neat freak. I’m not saying it’s a good thing. I’ve tried and tried not to be and sometimes my house is actually in disarray. During such times, I’m in turmoil within until I can establish a clean sink or a clear cupboard. Order on the outside, order on the inside. It ain’t easy being me some days.
On Saturday, I had lunch with my parents. My mother made a pizza and as is our usual custom after a meal, we cleared the table and started the dishes. Imagine my surprise when my mother, Saint Helen of Immaculata, swept a few crumbs onto the floor.
I looked at her and said “Mum! What are you doing?”
“It’s just a few crumbs. We’ll vacuum them up later.”
I offered to get the vacuum and clean up the offending crumbs RIGHT NOW, but she was firm in her resolution that the crumbs would stay on the floor. She’d vacuum them up LATER.
Helen had spoken.
At this point, convinced I was adopted, I walked home in a daze and went straight to the closet in my laundry room. I pulled out my Miele vacuum and started running it around the kitchen. No crumbs here.
Friends, there are only ten days left until Christmas. Here is a very short list of things I may not get done before the big day. As an exercise, I’m going to work on accepting my imperfection as a holiday hostess and I suggest you check your own list (check it twice) to see if there are certain things you could give up on now to avoid disappointment on December 25.
- I am not going to lose 10 pounds in 10 days.
- I may not be able to make my own organic leaf lard pie crust for French meat pies this year.
- I am not going to have all my Christmas cards in the mail by the close of business today, the big US Postal Service mail day.
- I may not be able to make a batch of ginger snaps AND a batch of frosted sugar cookies. It might end up being ONE or the OTHER but not BOTH.
- I’m probably not going to get around to sewing a maroon velveteen pillow cover.
Sure, I’ve had Mr. Deehan running here and there, doing this and that during most of his available daylight hours. But the sands are rapidly running through his hourglass; he tells me he’s going on vacation starting this Wednesday and I’ll be BLEEP out of luck for a few weeks.
With the impending absence of my house’s strong arm and mighty fortress, I’ve accepted the fact that my holidays will be just a smidge less than perfect. What else can I do?
But I’ll tell you one thing.
There won’t be any crumbs on my kitchen floor this year, that’s for damn sure.