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“The Curse” and Delusions of Grandeur

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When you were young, did your parents ever say to you, “I hope when you get married you have a child who acts JUST LIKE YOU!” My parents never said this to me because it’s something you say to your naughty children, not your perfect children. (My younger brother used to call me “Perfect Child” because I never got in trouble or did bad things).

However, I have discovered that even if your parents never officially put this curse upon you, it naturally follows nevertheless. Now, like Mary Poppins, I was “practically perfect in every way.” (Ha ha). But the one thing about me that caused my parents grief (particularly my father) was the fact that I had a messy room. I never made my bed, and my clothes were on the floor (though curiously, they were my clean clothes), my desk was always in complete disarray (which meant that I did my homework in bed and my desk did not serve its intended purpose).

I remember one time when I did clean up my room, and then I couldn’t find anything. When my room was messy, I knew where the piles were and what they contained. Every night, I mapped out an escape route so that I could make it to the bathroom without stepping on any of these piles.

One day, my father very tenderly sat down on my bed and asked me when I was going to clean my room, or why I didn’t clean it, or something to that effect. This must have taken a great deal of planning and patience on his part. I replied, “Well Dad, I guess it just doesn’t mean as much to me as it does to you.” He was stymied. Had no idea what to say. So he just left, and my room stayed a mess.

Along with the curse of having children who act just like you is the curse of becoming just like your parents. I’ve been hit with that double-whammy. Because now I have two little girls with a room that I like to call “abomination of desolation,” (although it is not very apt, since “desolation” would indicate a lack of objects, whereas their room is replete with many) and I have turned into my father. I can’t stand their messy room. It drives me absolutely nuts. No matter how many times I instruct them and help them clean up their room so they will know how to do it, the floor is still littered with clothes, both clean and dirty, princess dress-ups, polly pockets and and their paraphernalia (can I mention just one more time how much I detest polly pockets and their clothing?), barbie dolls and stuffed animals.

About a week ago, I could take no more. So I told the girls that they had 15 minutes, and anything left on the floor after that time would “disappear.” And they couldn’t just put everything on their beds, either. To my utter shock and amazement, they cleaned up their room, and nothing was left on the floor. Now every night before they go to bed, it’s the same routine. They have to clean up, or things will disappear.

Last night I was sitting on Julianna’s bed while they were supposed to be cleaning up, and they were taking too long and not focusing to my satisfaction. I said, “I’m leaving. Come get me when you’re done.”

A few minutes later, they told me their room was clean. To my pleasant surprise, it was! I exclaimed, “I love just showing up and the room is clean. It’s like a miracle!” Julianna said, “Yeah, like Jesus cleaned it!” Natalie, making an incredibly astute connection for a three-year-old, said, “We’re Jesus!”

Well, not quite. Let’s just say we’re TRYING to be like Jesus, shall we?

I, for one, find it much easier to be like Jesus when my children’s room is clean. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, after all. Guess I better go clean my kitchen….

-Melissa Howell

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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 15, 2008

    I was a slob until I went away to college and my mom redid my room to look like it should be on the cover of Home and Garden. I was so afraid to mess it up that I changed my ways.

    I hope my daughter has SOME kind of epiphany in my lifetime!!!!

  • comment avatar Monica May 15, 2008

    If cleanliness if next to Godliness, my kids have a looooooong way to go! Their rooms are the absolute worst!

  • comment avatar Kari May 15, 2008

    Wait, there were two of us in the world who are perfect? Who would have thunk! And too bad we didn’t reproduce perfect children. 🙂

  • comment avatar Karen Jones May 15, 2008

    Great tip on how to finally get the kids to clean up. I may just have to implement that tomorrow!

  • comment avatar Born2Shop May 15, 2008

    Too funny!

    In my son’s room Jesus wouldn’t have to walk on water, when he could skate across the sea of legos that cover what once was I believe beige carpet.

  • comment avatar Jana BFF May 19, 2008

    Hilarious and totally true!!! I was always late for everything (and since we’re talking about “practically perfect in every way, it’s still my only imperfection–sometimes) and now I have a daughter who is just like me–it’s our greatest trial, but we have found that a reward of Yo-Gos after we arrive on time is a great motivation to be on time!!! Thanks Melissa!!

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