Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Break: When care-free college students find out what their empty-nesting mothers have been up to all semester

My last Spring Break from my undergraduate career at William and Mary was primarily spent at home in Clifton, Va.  When I pulled into the driveway at my mother's house, Mom came running out to greet me, straight out of the shower, in a ball gown and barefoot.  She gave me a big hug, opened the trunk of my car, and said, "Is all of this dirty laundry?" as she looked up at me uneasily.  "Yes," I said.  "Is that a problem?  I didn't bring any clean clothes home with me.  I'm trying to save myself the $6 in quarters that it costs to do laundry at the laundry room for my apartment complex.  What's going on, Mom?"  Her facial expression changed suddenly, like a newscasters, from that of a sympathetic observer of a tragedy, into a wide grin and sparkling, smiling eyes, as she said, "Oh, just wait!  Come on inside and see!"  

As I walked with trepidation through the garage and the door I had used to enter my home through the laundry room for the past 14 years of my life, I began to understand the sheer magnitude of the situation.  From the moment I stepped inside, there was no floor, there was no laundry room, there were frames of walls, the washing machine was sitting out in the middle of this empty space, not plugged into anything.  Oh Lord,  I thought.  Mom was tiptoeing around this construction site, wildly explaining to me the vision she had for this new and improved room of her house.  When I had absorbed a bit of this, it occurred to me that my mother had wet hair, was wearing a floor-length gown and was barefoot.  "What are you doing, Mom?"  
"Oh, I'm going to a formal dinner tonight with Chuck and his friends for Army Veterans.  We actually have to leave here in a few minutes, so I can't talk to you anymore right now.  If you want, I'll call the neighbors and see if you can do your laundry there."

Um, no thanks, Mom.  I'll just bring it to Dad's.  

I followed my excited mother into the living room, attached to the construction site, to find a continuation of the construction in the kitchen.  All the cabinets that had once hung out of the ceiling were missing, had just been ripped out of the room.  The plans for the new and improved kitchen, laundry room, and the addition of a powder room were spread out over the kitchen counter.  I looked them over, brought a few items to my bedroom, found a good book, and headed to Starbucks.  

So another week at home in Clifton begins.

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