"The only thing domestic about me is I live indoors."
Oh, this is a woman after my own heart! The two definitions of "domestic" I used up above in my entry title are two things I'm not...at least, not any more. Devoted to home life and/or household affairs. Tame. ME?!? No sirree...not me. Devoted to the people who live here and share this house with me...yes. Big difference. Big BIG difference.
In some way, shape, or form I've been the main housekeeper of homes since I was around 14-15 years old. That's when my mom, due to circumstances beyond her control, had to begin working outside the home. My father had been maimed in an industrial on-the-job accident and needed to be rehabilitated so the State sent him to business college and my mom began working nights at a local hospital. In Housekeeping. To say, after putting in 8 hours per night cleaning up all kinds of medical messes, keeping her home clean was high on her priority list...well, it was the furthest thing from her mind. So...being the only girl in the family...it fell on me. I went to school, came home, took care of my younger brother, cooked dinner, cleaned up the mess, did homework, and went to bed. That was pretty much the sum of my Junior High and High School years. Of course, I'm not the only girl that's ever happened to. And it did give me a good idea of what was ahead of me on the domestic homefront in my future. Still...grocery shopping weekly for almost 40 years, swabbing out who knows how many dirty toilets, washing who knows how many dishes, cooking more dinners than I care to remember...one thing I do know about myself. I've only done it because I had to, not because I wanted to.
Even so. I can only go so far in living the life of a slob. And I think most people would look at the inside of my house and figure it's pretty clean compared to a lot of other ones. It's cluttered. There are books and tons of toys around, tho I just have to put the toys back in their containers and baskets at the end of the day...I have to have some kind of control in my daily life and the chaos of little plastic people and magnetic letters and pop beads and blocks all over the floor drive me to distraction by the time 5 pm rolls around. As soon as the grandbabies are out the door, I'm scooping everything back in to some kind of order. But, as my daughter will attest to, at least I wait now until the end of the day. When she and her younger brother were growing up, I was following them around all day, putting things away. Very OCD, I know. And if we had company coming over for dinner? Oh my. I'd be dusting and polishing and mopping and hollering all day long..."Don't make a MESS!" And now? I don't do company. If a friend stops in and it's a mess, it's a mess. Simple as that. But dinners and 'entertaining' and all that? Nah. I have a daughter-in-law who loves all that and I'm more than glad to hand it over to her. I contribute what ever she wants me to bring and leave it at that. Outside of my kids, my own sibling-family and I haven't gotten together for a 'family' deal for 16 years. I don't know what the term 'extended family' means. I didn't grow up with grandparents and aunts and uncles and a bazillion cousins around me. Not like Dear Hubby, who has something like 60 first cousins just on his Mom's side of the family. Sunday dinners at Grandma's? No idea what that's like.
Do I suffer from 'family envy'? No. Wistfulness, maybe. Sometimes. Not often. Do I wish I was closer to my three brothers than I am, even the one I've been estranged from for 16 years? I dunno. The older two, probably not. We were always so different. My younger brother and I see each other enough, every few months or so, to keep us both happy, I think. We don't have a lot in common either, as far as the things we follow, the way we live, our interests, go. When we get together, we have a really nice visit and enjoy our time spent in each other's company. But familial 'closeness' was something not hugely stressed in our growing up years. We lived in the same houses, yes, but more or less went our own ways, even as young children. Was that good? Was that bad? I dunno. It's all I've ever known. How can you miss what you never had in the first place?