- Scandinavian Saying
When I was growing up, my Mutti had a cleaning lady, Wilma, who came once a week. She was a good Dutch woman and an impeccable cleaner, probably the only one who has ever cleaned to my mother’s standards. This woman could make absolutely anything sparkle and shine and I am sure dust quivered in her shadow, we certainly did. She was just that kind of woman.
Thursday evenings were an inevitable stress for us kids as we had to “tidy” before Wilma came to clean, because you see, Wilma only cleaned. She was not there to pick up after us. She was very strict about that. Those were her rules. Nothing, absolutely nothing, was to get in the way of her cleaning.
The tension on Thursday nights was such that at one juncture one of my sisters, in the midst of a meltdown, took a purple wax crayon and in her scrawly grade one printing wrote, “Wilma, I just can’t take it anymore,” on the inside door panel of my mother’s antique washstand. Those were sentiments that I am sure we had all shared at one point or another, but luckily for us, my mother found this message of distress before Wilma ever happened upon it. If she would have, I am not quite sure what would have happened, but I am sure it wouldn’t have been good. We probably would have been down one good irreplaceable cleaning lady and sentenced to numerous years of cleaning penitence. But that’s not really what this story is about. You see, when Wilma started, she made it very clear to my mother that this was not a long term affair. She would only clean for my mother until her husband returned. He had left her some years previous, but she was adamant that at some point he would come to his senses, change his mind and they would be reunited. Well, weeks turned into months and months into years, but just the same, as if it were her mantra, she would say, “You know, I won’t be here for long. My husband is going to come back to me and when he does I will quit. I’m only cleaning until my husband returns.”
I know many of you are probably now thinking that this is a story of some highly delusional and probably obsessive compulsive woman, and it certainly might seem that way. Wilma was our faithful housecleaner for a good ten years or more, just as faithful to us as she was to her mantra. Then one day, just like that, out of the blue, she phoned my mother and said, “I won’t be cleaning for you any more, my husband has just come home.”
Apparently it only takes the faith of a mustard seed to move a mountain. At present, I’m working on trying to move molehills while attempting to remember that thoughts become things.