About eight years ago, I tore out and have carried around an article that best explained why I do the things I do. Not the big things: jobs, schools, vacations or how I should be saving money. But the hundreds of tiny things I do for the people I love and weave into their nests day in and day out.
This includes cleaning. I love keeping house; it is through cleaning that I really understand my house and how it works. It matters to me that the closets aren't crammed with junk (although they certainly get that way). It's true- I find vacuuming therapeutic, it forces me to focus on the task at hand and I like to see the trouble disappearing so easily. It matters that there is order, if only because it gives me a sense of security and control. I can hold the chaos of the world (or in my head) at bay when I look around me and the floors are clean and the shelves neatly arranged.
I don't see it as false security, it's just simple security.
It is the smallest gestures that contain the greatest love.
Brewing coffee and baking cookies.
Making the bed in the morning and turning it down at night.
Snuggling my daughter with warm towels and lot's of hugs and kisses after a bath.
A bouquet of fresh flowers.
A warm fire.
Drawing a bath and stacking the towels on a stool.
Surrounding ourselves with things that are meaningful.
And at night, pulling the curtains just so and clicking on the night light.
These gestures become ritualistic and I do them as a way of expressing affection.
Surprise is great, but so is reliability.