The cleaning lady and my mother

Once in a while, but sadly not often enough, we ought to pause and use that time to remind ourselves that we do have choices. One choice, and not obvious until we're well into our 30s, is learning from our parents' wisdom. We weren't rich and both of my parents worked all day in our small grocery store. My father started at 5am and my mother joined him at 8am. Other than a break from 12-2, the store was open until 7pm in the winter and 8pm the rest of the year. Mom was up early preparing breakfast and my school lunch. When my father was resting from 12-2, she was cooking dinner and when we were sleeping she was doing laundry and getting ready for the next day. I don't remember who suggested it but we had a cleaning lady and she worked for my mother once a week.

My parents were hard workers and the cleaning lady was a necessity, a tiny respite.

Here's the amazing part about this story: my mother cleaned the apartment the night before the cleaning lady's visit.

I didn't quite understand it nor did I question it, I was just a kid. Years later I was at awe. Why did she do it?

Today, many cleaning persons walk into a mess that was left for them because someone said "leave it for the cleaning crew." My mother would have never said that.

"But that's what we're paying them for". My mother would have never said that either. Money was scarce but she never had this attitude.

Like everything about our parents' wisdom, it took many years for me to realize the lifelong gifts she gave me by just being my mother.

Mom did not want anyone to think she was dirty or that we lived in a sloppy apartment. It didn't matter that only the cleaning lady would know if we were; it mattered because mom was principled and proud.

As crazy as it may sound, my mother also did not want the cleaning lady to work hard; she was cleaning homes all day and the least mom could do is not make it harder.

Mom didn't finish high school nor did she have a collection of motivational books; she was a simple kind and considerate human being.

Not a bad way to live if you ask me.