My kids and I have been ready for Spring since approximately 8:07 a.m. on January 7th (their first day back to school after Winter Break). In February, my son C asked me when he could go swimming. In March, my daughter E wondered when we could open the windows. Earlier this month, my oldest son M sighed when he had to wear his winter coat again to school. It’s been downright depressing.
I’ve tried everything to cajole Spring to arrive here:
- The Winter Coat Two-Step: I put away the winter boots, the snow pants, and the big fluffy winter coats. Then I had to pull them back out. In and out, over and over. This little two-step I danced with our parkas kept going until I was so frustrated that I gave up. Defeat never felt so cold and bitter.
- The Storing of the Snowboards, Shovels and Sleds: I was also determined to put away any item that had anything to do with playing in the snow. Yeah, that worked about as well as the winter coats.
- The Return of Summer Food: Then I realized I was working the wrong angle. Instead of trying to put away the winter stuff, I doggedly decided to start springtime activities and food whether the weather was ready or not. I thought if I made pasta and green salads, grilled hamburgers, and ice cream sandwiches that I could tempt Spring to come on out and have a picnic. No dice.
- The Great Summer-Clothes-Try-On Event: I don’t know if you do this in your house, but in preparation for warmer weather, I make the kids try on every pair of shorts, every T-shirt, every polo and swimsuit to what exactly we’ll need to buy. It’s futile, really – for the most part, they always need everything new because the cold promotes growth spurts in our house. But I still make them go through the hated ritual because I always think that I must have bought some clothes that will still fit them. Just FYI — it apparently doesn’t hurry Spring along at all (even if I might have used that as a rationale for doing this annual event).
- The Annual Bike-Tire Pump-Up: We tried this one in March over Spring Break. Even though it was so cold that it made your eyes water and then made your tears freeze, the kids wanted to get their bikes ready. Does anything say “freedom” to a tween like having your own bike to ride? Six frozen hands, three red noses and two bike pumps later, the tires were ready for the road. The kids, however, were ready for hot chocolate and a midday showing of Iron Man 2.
- The Summer Knitting Switch: I gave up on cowls and mittens and gloves in favor of lighter scarves. I thought about knitting a summery little shrug but I was forced to rethink when the winter wind cut right through my forehead as I walked Louie. Back to making winter hats.
I was baffled. I thought we had tried everything we could to lure Spring out into the open. And then it hit me – the one thing that I hadn’t done, the thing I abhor that might just make all the difference: spring cleaning.
Spring cleaning strikes fear in the hearts of my children — and myself. I love a clean house but hate the actual cleaning part. So we grit our teeth, grumped a lot, and did it all. We washed the windows and vacuumed the miniblinds (ugh!). We purged the old, filled up the recycle bin as well as the minivan for me to drive to the Annual Recycle Event in our town. We scrubbed, washed, dusted, straightened, organized, painted and polished everything in the house from top to bottom.
At one point I heard my younger son C talking to his friend on the phone: “No, I can’t come over and play. My mom is making me straighten and dust and vacuum my room!”
To which his friend replied: “Dude, that’s like torture! You gotta get out of there.”
That’s right, folks. I am the Meanest Mom in the Entire World because I made my kids clean their rooms.
We took our cleaning force outside. We weeded the horrible flowerbeds, throwing mulch around the little Japanese irises and daffodils that were trying to survive. We mowed the lawn, picked up sticks, cleared the old dead leaves from the perennials. And we planted flowers – pansies, petunias, and geraniums in pots – for my daughter to tend (I’m thinking that she inherited her grandparents’ green thumb).
The outcome of this frenzy of cleaning and sprucing up? An absolutely gorgeous weekend. What’s more, I didn’t wear a coat to the bus stop today — and I wasn’t even chilly. Tomorrow it may even be warm enough to wear shorts.
I never knew Spring was so fussy about clutter and dust, but I can’t argue with the results. So my apologies to everyone for keeping the warmer weather at bay. Next year I’ll start spring cleaning on January 2nd, and that’s a promise!
Do you enjoy spring cleaning or are you like me and loathe the process but love the result? Is it finally warmer by you too?