There’s a leak under our kitchen sink. It’s been there for a while, I keep a little bowl tucked under it and empty it every few days. Recently I’ve been having to empty it more often, which means, of course, that the leak is getting worse. It makes sense, things like that don’t magically improve.
There are also a clown car amount of cleaners and chemicals under there. This morning the little container could no longer hold the leak and it was very wet under the sink. Rule number one of chemicals, don’t expose them to water. I took the chemicals out and as usual I am in awe of the things mom manages to keep. Things that may have not been used in over a decade, or ever.
I get up much earlier than mom, when she came down today I went to the kitchen with her to explain that we will be putting a lot of the unused chemicals in the basement. I could see that panicked look she gets whenever something involves change. “What did you get rid of?” I told her nothing yet, it’s all over by the wood stove and when she’s done breakfast we can go through it.
It’s hard. I have learned over time that the best way to clean is to do it when she’s not here and then just tell her. The times and days she’s not here are usually when I’m at work or away.
I try to understand, she came from a time when NOTHING was thrown out, just in case. She lived through the depression and WWII. She only got a bicycle during the war because my Gram was the town post mistress and told the post office mom delivered the mail for her so she needed the bike. As a girl if the well went dry, there was no water, if the crops failed there were no vegetables.
She has been prudent and we always had enough because of it. Trying to help her with bills or even buying toilet paper is hard, she will always feel like she has to provide for us.
Back to the sink. I’m looking at all the stuff that was under there, I don’t think I could fit it all back in even if I wanted to. Why is it that things that accumulate take up so much less space? In a few minutes I’ll go out and we’ll have a discussion on what to leave up here, the Comet, window cleaner and extra dish sponges, and what to take out, the rusted unusable can of oven cleaner and the other random unused cleaners. We will negotiate the silver polish, I’ll explain we can go down and get it for her that one time a year she wants to use it. She’ll think about it and maybe say yes, maybe no. Through it all I will remember she is mom. Change is hard for her. She deserves my respect, no matter where the silver polish ends up.