I plunge my red, chapped hand back into the bucket of gray water. I guess I should change it. The baseboards would probably be cleaner if I used clean water, but I've already changed the water three times and I'm just tired.
I never clean like this. To me, cleaning is picking up all the kids stray toys, running the vacuum and clearing the kitchen sink of dinner's dishes. Oh and laundry. Laundry takes up a lot of my free time. Life is too short to clean like this all the time. If I made it my life's mission to have sparkling white baseboards, a hair free bathroom that smells of bleach and a kitchen floor that doesn't stay with the knees in Freddie's pants then I'd never have time for anything else.
Anything else is what I love.
Anything else is spending summer afternoons on the deck with Ainsley as she splashes in bowls of water. Her curly locks wet and clinging to her cool skin.
Anything else is rocking Freddie to sleep each night. Watching him as he nurses and drifts off so easily. Humming softly as his eyes get heavier and heavier. Breathing in the baby soap from his recent bath.
Anything else is cuddling with Clif and Ainsley on the couch for a good Disney movie. Sharing a bowl of popcorn and watching Ainsley's eyes widen as Ariel and Flounder dodge a shark.
Anything else is taking Ainsley and Freddie on a walk through the neighborhood just as the rain is subsiding. Ainsley bouncing ahead with her ladybug umbrella and Freddie mesmerized by the passing clouds.
Anything else is all four of us in bed together listening to a thunderstorm roll overhead. The thrill and fear of it all too electric to sleep through. But tomorrow is Saturday and we can all sleep in.
But today, Ainsley and Freddie are with Clif in Fairfax. I'm spending the day in Richmond, making sure the house is ready. Ready to go on the market, ready to show, ready for the open house, ready for another family, ready to move on.
I am alone and the absence of squeals and laughter and tears and crashes and toys and howls and conversation is noticible. It's been a long time since this house heard so much silence.
I scrub the last foot of baseboard before dropping the rag in the cold, gritty water. I look around and I'm pleased with the house. I never cleaned like this for us, there's no time to clean like this when you're wrapped up in anything else.
This post is in response to a prompt over at the Red Dress Club: "Water gives life. Water takes it away."