Monday, August 23, 2010


     The figure stooped to wipe the baseboard and get the dirt out of its crevices.  This was not some figment of my imagination, but rather my son trying to clean the vestiges of previous semesters of students who had inhabited the room he was now renting in this house containing ten males.  Yet, he wanted his mom there to supervise how he should order his room.

     It amazed me to see this young man seeking, on his own, to clear soot from the window sill, remove the soot laden drapes, and vacuum the rug.  I was amazed because I had not gotten a glimpse of this behavior in my house.  He escaped many such tasks by spending the weekends of his youth at his father’s home.  I never got to see him climb up and replace new curtains on a rod.  Nor had I seen this young man voluntarily wash surfaces of bookcases and desktops like he was doing in this room.  I stood back and admired how he washed the inside drawers of the dresser without any prompting from me.

     He is an expert at cleaning a bathroom, for that was his job at home since he was about eight years old.  As he was cleaning his room, he actually said, “Mom, wait until next week.  I’m going in the bathroom and really do a job on it. Then I’m going to have these guys follow guidelines for how to maintain it.”  This child of mine even picked out new shower curtains and rings at Target earlier that day, saying, “This is my gift to the house.”  When we returned to the house I checked out the existing curtains in the bathroom.  Sure enough, “My son is honing a discerning eye,” I thought. Good for him!  As I suggested how he could remove the mold collecting over the bath tiles – semesters of neglect by students and a landlord, my son had us return to Target for a bucket, rubber gloves, and cleaning supplies.

     The thing is, as he was going around the baseboard, he mumbled, “This is the second time in two days that I’ve said I know how to do something because my mom prepared me for it since I was a child.  Remember when you had me crawling around the living room and dining room baseboard and up the staircase?” he said.  It suddenly dawned on him that many of the tasks I required of him did have a place and value.  He actually said to me, “Why don’t you write a book about parenting?”  I hit the jackpot!

     Somewhere along the way from childhood until senior year, they grow up, mothers

© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010

Mother and Son

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