I was having a conversation with my mom (Luza, who, by the way, is 100 years old) and I was telling her how weird it was to only have 1 of my kids left at home.
Technically, even Jonathan is not here, because he's gone most of the time with school and auditions and driving to LA and rehearsals for the play he's in. So I find myself rethinking making meals. I'm so used to cooking for a crowd and now it's just me and Eric.
Which is awesome. And completely weird to me.
So I am telling this to Luza and she suddenly she asks, "Is your kitchen clean?" Which at first I thought was an issue with her synapses mis-firing again because that seems to happen more often lately. She's 100, after all. I thought she was changing the subject.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, it is."
Which, now that she was mentioning it, I realized was pretty unusual for my house. There are always dirty dishes and leftover-from-last-night's-party cups and serving dishes that I was too lazy to wash out yesterday. And glasses with some sort of liquid in them on every available surface in the kitchen and dining room and living room. (Shut up. Don't judge.)
But here was my kitchen, with everything in its place and the counters wiped off. Hmmm.
Or mostly clean. But still…
Then she dropped this nugget on me:
"You spend years cleaning and straightening and discouraged that no matter how hard you work it doesn't seem to last for more than a day. Then suddenly you surmise that everything seems to stay neat and straightened and clean and you find yourself missing the mess."
My mom has lived 100 years. She has a lot of life experience. I guess I shouldn't be surprised when she has these amazing moments of lucidity.
"Go ahead and grieve. It's not the mess you miss, it's the messy people."
And so, here I sit, in my pretty-clean-for-a-Monday house, letting the tears fall. I think it's just part of that whole pesky empty-nest thing happening and I just need to embrace it.
Just when I think I need to soldier on through this alone, I get a text from Amy in Miami:
It turns out that the Messy People miss me, too. Who knew?
As an added bonus, it's also pretty nice to have a clean kitchen.