Friday, January 27, 2012


Tonight after all the kids were in bed, (No. Not asleep- in bed), I vacuumed our living room. It’s this habit of mine. I do this on a pretty regular basis.  It does not take very long. One of the assets of living in such a tiny place is that I can plug my vacuum into one outlet and reach the entire home. There are many reasons I do this in the evening- We do have a large very hairy dog- and a crawling toddler who puts EVERYTHING in her mouth. The boys do constantly wrestle and smush each other’s faces into the carpet. We do drop food, drinks, markers and everything else onto the carpet on a daily basis…
And although on some evenings I vacuum strictly to pick up the day’s dirt-- I think the real reason is because the best feeling I ever had as a little kid, was going to sleep while I heard the vacuum cleaner running downstairs. It was so safe this idea of being tightly packed in bed, stuffed animals all around, ready for dreams, feeling as if I was headed off to someplace, while knowing that someone was staying behind taking care of things. It was the same feeling as waking up to the noise of someone putzing around in the kitchen. As if the whole time I was gone someone had been waiting for me to return.  To say welcome back good morning. Eat this peanut butter toast with banana on it. You have a test today. Your brain needs food.  And here is your fork and here is my kiss. And here is your assurance of the stability of the universe. Please use your napkin. Please push in your chair.
And I don’t believe that my kids feel the exact same way that I did, but I can’t quite convince myself that they don’t at all. Forget about table manners -and I am under no illusion that I can offer them complete stability in life. But I do my best- So here is a goodnight kiss. And as you go to sleep- I am here outside your door. And when you wake up- here is a vacuumed living room floor.


  1. If I'm ever a mother, I want to be just like you. Those kids know love.

  2. Oh Ruth, you are very. very. encouraging. : )

  3. Yes, me too, Kate.
    I fell asleep to my mom playing the piano - whenever I hear "Für Elise" it puts me right back to this very relaxed and safe place I so often drifted off to sleep in. :)

  4. I think the piano sounds much nicer than a vacuum! : )