I am not a good cook. I am not a good housekeeper. I don’t decorate well. I don’t care if things are dirty.
I have house-pride but not enough to actually act on it.
I like good food but I find recipes onerous and don’t understand basic science necessary for improvisational cooking.
I don’t really cook; I heat things up and put them on plates. I can bake things. Kinda. Mostly when I bake things, it’s because I’m premenstrual and want some sugar, though. It’s not about feeding others. Not really.
But every so often, I feel this intense need to do home-keeping jobs. I feel like the neglect I’ve had for my husband and daughter in favor of my fake people means that I don’t love them and I feel this deep pull to care for them, when they are not around, by folding their laundry and ironing their dress shirts and going to the grocery store and wiping out the sinks.
I want to have dinner on the table when my husband gets home. I want to have the sofa arranged with folded throw blankets and appropriately spaced pillows. I want to light a candle that smells good. I want to have my family marvel at how I scrubbed – with my hands and a spray bottle of bleach – our bathroom tile.
This kind of work is how I want to say that I love them. Tell them how much their comfort and care means to me. How much I want this space we share to be easy to move through. And pretty. And clean. And have everything they might need.
This is hard, lately, because our house is still is remodeling disaster. We live out of two rooms, smashed together precariously with all our stuff in weird locations, hanging from nails, haphazard in piles and baskets and bins.
This is hard, because I want to teach my daughter how to run a home system. How to fold and iron and sort. How to measure out detergent. How to make grocery lists and plan for packed lunches and find good spots for all of the things we use regularly or need to keep track of: scissors, tape, fingernail clippers, bills, pencil sharpeners, magazines, tin foil, twist-ties. When I do it all by myself, when she’s not around, there is no chance of showing her how this is done.
This is hard, too, because I know that I’m not just showing them love. I’m rinsing and sorting and sweeping my way through the problems of my fake people as well. I’m showing them love, too.
We all have to live in this house of mine, somehow. SIGH.