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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)

TITLE: A Perfect Time to Clean the House


Sam was the last to leave home. His new job took him across the bay, and I guess it was just too quiet for him at home. Long gone are the days when he and his three siblings rushed around the house with half the church youth group in tow.

It was a beautiful spring morning and a perfect time to clean the house. I had just finished my morning cup of tea when the telephone rang. It was Connie, our first born. Connie has a family of her own now and lives down south with husband Bob.

“Hi, Connie. How are you and the children?”

“We’re all fine. I’m calling for your apple pie recipe. I’m busy right now. Can you email it to me?”

“Of course…if I can work the computer. Your father’s gone to the hardware store so I can’t ask him to help.”

“Why is Dad at the hardware store? He’s never been a handyman.”

“Well, he likes watching those free do-it-yourself demonstrations they have every Friday. Last week it was a do-it-your-self pantry cupboard, only now I have a whole in the wall. I think today’s demonstration is on how to build a dog house.”

“Umm…Mother, you don’t have a dog.”

“I know dear, but it keeps him occupied. You had better go and I’ll send the recipe. Bye Connie.”

I had only just hung up the phone when the front door opened. “Sam, I thought you would be at work.”

“The managers decided to renovate my office. I officially start on Monday. Do you think you could do a load of washing for me?"

He smiled so sweetly and handed me a bunch of flowers. What could I say? “Sure. As long as you can send Connie an email with my apple pie recipe attached.”

I put the flowers in a vase and set the washing machine going while Sam sat at the computer.

“How’s it going?” I asked. “Did you find the recipe?”

“All done,” he answered with a grin. “You should have some basic lessons and start your own recipe helpline.”

“Now there’s a thought. It would distract me from all that hammering your father does. Now I really need to get your old room clean out. Want to help?”

“I would, but Kevin is on his way over to watch a DVD with me…if that’s okay.”

“Sure, I haven’t seen your brother in almost a week. I’ll be cleaning if you want anything.” With no reply, I headed for the bedrooms.

You might say I don’t really miss the children. Kevin was here last weekend with his twin sister, Teena. I love how those two get on so well. I suppose they all get on okay. Sharon will be here again tomorrow. She likes to stop by on her way to her afternoon shift at the hospital. I can remember her always wanting to be a nurse. It always made us laugh the way she bandaged all her teddies and dolls. Ah…those were the days.

It wasn’t even lunch time when Kevin and Sam wanted something to eat. The refrigerator is in the same place as it was when they were living here. What the heck. “Okay, I’m coming as soon as I put Sam’s clothes into the dryer.” I was hoping there might be an offer of help...

“Lunch was great,” Kevin said giving me a hug. “I better go, I need to pick up the car from the repair shop and get to work. I’ll see you later.” He reached down and gave me a peck on the cheek. “Bye.” Then he was gone again.

“I better get my things out of the dryer and head back too,” Sam said following me to the laundry.

“You missed your father. When will you be back for a visit?”

“Probably when I need some more washing done,” he said quite seriously.

“Okay. Well take care.” I waved to him from the front step.

I had just stepped back inside when the telephone started ringing. “Teena, how’s the house coming along?”

“Oh, I just want to cry, Mother.”

“What’s the matter?”

“It’s the builder. He keeps changing dates to do things. He’s always late and we have to keep telling him to order stuff on time. It’s so frustrating. Do you have time for a chat?”

“Of course I do honey. Let me pour myself a cup of tea and we can talk awhile.”

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This article has been read 685 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Eileen Knowles09/17/09
Good writing. This piece left me feeling a little sad. I think alot of mom's will be able to relate to this. A mother's unconditional love for her children and how much they give even after they leave the nest! Well done.
c clemons09/18/09
Good writing. I feel a little for the Mom though, she is underappreciated even by her husband. But maybe that was what you wanted to convey to the reader.
Beth LaBuff 09/22/09
You've captured this woman's life with the humorous times and the demanding moments, even for an empty-nester. I could relate to much of this. I enjoyed your story. Nice work! (Our entries share a few similarities this week. :) )
Sarah Elisabeth 09/22/09
I know dear, but it keeps him occupied...LOL! I could so relate to this having my dad around the house all the time now. Well written with a clear message!

A quick critique -

Sometimes it was hard to tell when the mother was describing her family to the reader and when she was having her own private thoughts.

Otherwise, very good story that I'm sure many can relate to.
Mariane Holbrook 09/23/09
Poor mom. We can relate to her and you managed to handle this subject skillfully. Some days are better than others, aren't they? You write well and I enjoyed this one particularly. Hugs!
Catrina Bradley 09/23/09
Your MC reminds me of my mother-in-law. She enjoys it, though. :) I don't know whether to feel sad for this mom, or not. Which ever, it's clear that she loves her children and they love her. Very nice writing, you left me thinking.
Chely Roach09/23/09
This could've been titled, A Mother's Work is Never Done. They are always needed, sought out, and typically, underappreciated. Your MC took it all in stride with a natural grace. Fantastic!
Lisa Johnson09/25/09
Ha! Ha! Ha! I'm fifty years old, and I still call my Mom for special recipes!!! Loved this story.
Lisa Johnson09/25/09
Come to think of it... my Mom doesn't know how to e-mail either.
Allen Stark09/26/09
Chrissy, It's nice to see how love can overcome frustration, and other things, too. Nice work.