I’m a happily married woman — let me state that, straight up, seeing as though the title of this post clearly implies otherwise. The Bloke and I have muddled along together for the better part of two decades, and we’re planning to do so for a lot longer yet.
But there are two other men, other than The Bloke, who have made me the happily married woman I am today. Two men who, like my dear husband, have seen me at my best and my worst. Two men who have witnessed me lose it with my kids more times than I would like to admit, but who have also seen those same children grow to be the beautiful, self-sufficient and (mostly) polite creatures they are today. Two men who have have seen my house look like a tornado has just swept through or like a sparkling jewel where everything is clean and in its ever-so-right place.
And now, dear friends, (sob….choke…splutter) the time has come for these two men to leave me.
These two men — architects of my continued happiness and transformers of my humble home — are, of course, are my Cleaners.
(Apologies if my tears have actually permeated cyberspace and are pouring through whatever screen you are reading this on…)
To be fair, The Cleaners and I have broken up before. There were a few weeks here, sometimes a few months, when they were too busy, or needed a break, or whatever it was — but this time, this time, it’s for real.
Don’t get me wrong.
I know in my heart the time has come for The Cleaners to move on. Truly.
Just as they have witnessed my kids growing up (OK…and me…they had to see me doing a whole pile of that growing up business, too), I’ve seen them transform, too.
I’ve watched them grow up, get real (other) jobs, ride rocking rollercoasters of relationships, come out, get promoted, break up (luckily that one wasn’t for real), reunite, get clearer and clearer on what they want in life, get promoted again (and again), and go back to studying. I’ve seen them do difficult things, like navigate visa restrictions in the era before marriage equality, and bury parents and loved ones, and do so with grace and courage. I’ve seen them succeed in becoming amazing, well-rounded, successful and brilliant young men.
And I guess that’s where we come to the heart of the matter: they are not The Cleaners any more.
They’re truly awesome human beings, one of whom is even more obsessed with Christmas (specifically: themed decorating) than I am.
Seriously — we begin discussing possible colour schemes in October and send each other slow-motion video reveals of our fully decorated trees…and let’s not even get into our long-standing debate over real versus artifical…
And that is why this post is adorned with the trees of the past five Christmases in all their radiant glory, under which there has always been a gift for each of them, and there always will be.
Because they’re not The Cleaners any more. They’re part of the family.