Bacon, Pine-sol & Incense

I almost hate to admit it but in some ways I’m just like my mom.  I love to clean when I’m stressed.  I can’t afford to join a gym and I hate running/jogging. Cleaning is my favorite way to let off steam.  It’s free, it’s readily available and the benefits last for a good while.  The smell of burning incense also makes me want to clean.  I’m not a neat freak by any means, but I do like things to be clean.  When I was a kid living with my mom, good times were scarce.  But when they happened it was a great thing. 

I used to wake up on some Saturday mornings to the smell of bacon and Pine-sol.  I’ve already shared in a previous post about my mom that she was a drug addict for many years.  She is also a veteran.  Those two things together make a woman who likes to wake up at 4 a.m. and clean.  For those who don’t know, heavy drug users do regular stuff at highly irregular hours; like washing the car at midnight.  For my mom it was cleaning at midnight, 2 a.m., 4 a.m., etc.  She’s a neat freak of epic proportions- picking lint off her navy blue carpet with her hands.  I blame the military for making her that way because my grandmother says she was a very messy kid.  I don’t know why, but almost every veteran I know wakes up extremely early in the morning, even when they have no particular place to be.  It’s like there was a timer set and placed in them during basic training and they forgot to disable it upon discharge from service.

Anyway, on VERY rare Saturday or Sunday mornings I would sometimes be awakened by the smell of bacon cooking and the “power of Pine-sol”.  By 7 a.m. my mom had cleaned the entire house, swept and mopped the floors and cooked breakfast.  Everything was immaculate.  After admiring mom’s work I would run to the table and gobble up all the good food, then it was off to get dressed and play outside.  At lunchtime I came back inside to the scent of incense burning.  Either Stevie Wonder, The Gap Band or The New Birth would be playing on the radio.  And there was my mom chillin’ on the couch with her legs crossed and cigarette in her hand.  She had a look of satisfaction that her house was clean.  She never lit incense until the house was clean.  This is probably my favorite childhood memory.  My mom was at peace.  The house was at peace.  My sisters were at peace.  I was at peace.

As a grown woman with my own house and family I clean on the weekends and I do burn incense when I’m done.  I enjoy cooking a big breakfast for my kids as much as they enjoy eating it.  Grits, eggs, bacon and toast are the perfect wake up call- but not before 8 a.m.!  And we all sit at the table and eat as Anthony Hamilton and Erykah Badu sing.

P.S. > I know you might be wondering how I can joke about my mom’s drug use and how it affected her, but her story is also part of my story.  And because I have truly forgiven her I can look back on my childhood and find joy in some of the little things 🙂


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