November 18, 2012

Joy's Junque - I loved Broken Crayon Day

A few months ago I read the story of a 19 year old lad from Scotland, who after constant nagging from his mom to clean up his room, finally did so and found a winning lottery ticket worth $83,000.

Forget the fact he is 19, let’s focus on that bedroom.

If that had that been my house, I would have found the ticket during Broken Crayon Day and cashed it myself.

I always figured my kids’ rooms were their oasis and didn’t nag too much about keeping them clean. If they chose to be organized and clean, good for them. (Who am I kidding?) If they chose to be sloppy and dirty, well it was their decision - until I couldn’t stand it anymore or I needed a few dozen dishes back. Then I claimed eminent domain, declared Broken Crayon Day and headed to the rooms with trash bags, donation bags and room de-odorizers.

They always knew when it was coming and I gave them a fair chance to take care of business. But once the big day came – and it always did – everything in the room was mine.

During this day of cleaning bedrooms, anything broken (like crayons), with missing parts or just plain stupid, went in the trash. Anything not worn nor played with in a while, went in the donation bag.

When they were younger, they never even missed the stuff. As they got older, they would “sneak” a few of their presumed treasures out of the trash. They thought I didn’t know; I just didn’t care as long as I never saw those treasures on the floor again.

Other than getting rid of ‘stuff’ Broken Crayon Day was a catharsis for me in other ways. First of all, no one bothered me…I had a day alone…But more than that, it gave me a feeling of accomplishment.

I don’t think there was ever a time when my entire house was clean and neat. No matter how hard I tried, I always felt like the little old lady in Poltergeist, announcing “this house is clean” right before the really crazy stuff starts to happen.

But the bedrooms have always been my thing. They don’t require any heavy duty scrubbing or getting my hands wet. I could do anything in the bedrooms and didn’t have to call a plumber or electrician. Bedrooms don’t require anything, really, except a color scheme taken from a bedspread, some garage sale furniture and coordinating paint. And I like to see that stuff every once in awhile.

So Broken Crayon Day was a lot of work for me, but in the end, all the shoes were in the caddy, long sleeve shirts were neatly folded in one pile – short sleeve shirts in another. The clothes in the closet were hung according to color and season. The books and papers on the desks make them look like real students. They (and I) could find anything they (and I) were looking for in one try. The rooms looked like something from a magazine when I was done. And you and I know about how long that lasted….

Now, just for the heck of it, back to that kid from Scotland. He told reporters his dad wanted him to use the money and put a deposit on some property, and added, “I don’t want to move out just yet. I still get my tea cooked here.”

I know a mom who could use a Broken Crayon Day.


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