(To set this scene, you have to understand the following: (1) My daughter’s room can tend to be sloppy; (2) She loves to analyze me; and (3) I am a hypocrite.)
“Elle—your room! It’s a disaster! Come here and clean it immediately!” I’m shouting to her from the top of the stairs.
She makes her way up, enters the room, and surveys the damage.
“Yup. It’s a disaster, alright,” she says.
“How can you stand it like this?” I ask, picking panties and Squinkies off the floor simultaneously.
She looks at me and cocks her head. “Well, Mommy, you have a lot of room to talk. Nanny told me that when you were younger, your room was a mess too.”
I look at her, and scratch my head. I knew my mother would let the cat out of the bag at some point. Paybacks…
“Well, that’s right,” I say. “I wasn’t very neat.”
“Then why do I have to be?”
I ponder this question. I don’t really have the answer, except to accept that I’m a hypocrite.
“Nanny also told me that you used to get in trouble for staying out too late.”
I start to wonder how long this laundry list of “Nanny said” items will be. There are stories to be told, but not to a nine-year-old. They must be saved until she is graduated from college.
She starts to clean up, and I begin to help her.
“Thanks for helping me,” she says.
I kiss her on the forehead.
“Oh, you know what Poppy said?” she says. “He said he ripped the telephone out of your room and wheeled the stereo out too. You used to get in trouble a lot, huh?”
“Well, sure. All kids get in trouble,” I say.
“Yeah,” she says. “But it sounds like you got in trouble A LOT!”
“Maybe,” I say. “But at least I learned my lessons.”
This leaves her deep in thought as she contemplates the profound wisdom I have shared with her. A minute passes, and then she continues. “Then why is there a pile of your clothes on the chest in your room and your shoes are all over your closet floor?”
“For nostalgia, Elle,” I say. “For nostalgia.”