I wrote this little memoir when I was thirteen and enlisted to help me mother clean my sister’s
pig sty room. It’s also proof that I was snarky at a fairly young age.
I woke up to the glorious chimes of my mother’s vocal chords. It was a bright, sunny Saturday and I had no intention of getting out of bed.
“Meg! Wake up!” Mother dearest bellowed from my bedroom doorway.
“Mmph,” was my enthusiastic reply.
“Come on, we’ve got work to do today!” She turned around and closed the door with a hearty ‘bang’.
I flopped over on my back and reluctantly rolled out of bed. By the time I had gotten out of bed, gotten dressed, and gone down stairs, my mother was bustling around the house, doing her Saturday chores on double time. This was peculiar since what usually takes her all day, she did in 30 minutes flat.
I hadn’t the strength to ask what she was doing, so I sat down with a bowl of Rice Krispies and continued my morning ritual, undisturbed.
“Okey, let’s gets started!” Mom chanted, ready for anything.
“Excuse me?” I replied.
“Let’s get to it. I want to finish it by dinner, at least.” Obviously she actually thought I knew what she was talking about. Seeing my confused look she explained in detail, “We’re cleaning Beth’s room today,” and then looked for a meaningful glance from me.
“We’re what?” I asked.
“Cleaning your sister’s room,” she added slowly.
“You’re kidding, right?” I challenged.
“No.” That hurt.
“God help us, that room’s gonna eat us all.” I said as I headed for my older sister’s room. I looked up the steps and proceeded; each step taking me closer to doom.
It really was a harrowing experience…for my sister. Once a year – whether any of us liked it or not – we tackled her bedroom and beat back the clutter. It was a sort of bizarre tag-team of mother and little sister; one of us would consult/distract my sister regarding the fate of a particular object while the other would quickly fill a trash bag with empty boxes, bits of trash, and old McDonald’s toys. To do so in her line of sight was to invite a riot.
The day was always exhausting and emotional, but good. Despite the discomfort cleaning day caused, my sister always seemed happy with the end result. “Thank you,” she’d say. “Now get out.”