Last weekend, I went to my parents’ house for a physically distant goods exchange.
My mom came to the door during drop off.
As soon as I saw her, I burst into tears. Being so close and unable to hug absolutely tore me apart.
I miss my mom so much.
But not half as much as I miss my housekeeper.
She did the laundry. She changed the sheets. She cleaned the toilets. She mopped and swept and dusted and made the kitchen sink a magical shade of white.
She put in five solid hours of work each and every week.
I miss her all day, every day. Every time I use the bathroom and I smell the ubiquitous stench of potty training. Every time I walk into the kitchen to cook dinner and am confronted with all the appliances I will need to find time to clean.
My son misses her, too. Without fail, she would bring him a muffin or a scone from the local coffee shop, the expensive one. She would arrive and instantly seek him out, excited to show him his treat. He would squeal with delight and he would follow her around shrieking while I showered and got dressed.
She texts me once a week: “How is my boy? Give him a kiss for me.”
“He’s doing fine,” I text back. And he is. Even though he broke down in hysterics yesterday because he wanted to see her.
“We all miss her,” I assured him feeling almost as hysterical inside.
As if to rub salt into an open wound, we are still paying her. As stressed as we are financially, we have a safety net. Family to lean on. We will get a check from the government this month (fingers crossed, anyway). She likely won’t. Her family is Guatemala; she is enduring shelter-in-place with her roommate. (More on why we should all be paying our domestic help.)
And so I surrender. To the pain. To the challenge of my brain’s constant grumbling about the state of the house. To the challenge of cleaning my house as best as I can in the time I have.
I surrender, I accept, and I pray that it’s only temporary.