Friday, September 18, 2009


I believe that we all live with our priorities but have we ever really wondered if they are messed up?
I have not seen my mother for months now. She lives in a garden apartment which has 4 flights of stairs. Having degenerative arthritis I cannot climb those stairs.

She will not come to our home to visit because she does not approve of our way of keeping the house clean. It is a bit cluttered and she refuses to see past the clutter in order to come see me. The only way that I can see her is to meet at a restaurant somewhere but life is always getting in the way so we can never seem to agree on the day or time.

I can remember so many times when something interfered with getting my mother's full attention because other things were always taking priority. Yes, I know that this might sound a little self-centered on my part but I can't help but wonder if HER priorities are just a bit messed up.

I remember back when I was 35 and decided to get a teeny tiny tattoo on my wrist - it was about 1/2" round. The family went to my mom's for the Jewish Holiday meal that particular weekend and when she noticed it, she just closed down and everyone suffered because she could no longer function. I had to leave in order for her to serve the meal.

When my mom's best friend's husband passed away, we were all waiting for my mom to get there so they could continue on with the funeral. She had a little fender bender on the way, so when she did get there, she was taking all the attention because she had a dent in her car, never mind that Estelle, her friend for 50 years at that point, was burying her husband.

So, my mom is now 86, and not seeing her for 5 months is a long time.

Should clutter and a little dust keep you from your loved ones?
I am including some pictures that we took of the kitchen which is wide open to the living area. Comments are welcome.


Dionne said...

Clutter should definitely not stop someone from seeing you. But perhaps you could meet in the middle? If you could unclutter ONE of the rooms, that way when she visited, she would only have to see one room?

I am sorry that your mother was like that to you when you were younger! How awful. Perhaps God is using this to give you patience, and to go out of your way to reach out to her as He does to us.

Great post!

Christie Cottage said...

LOL It looks lived in to me!

When my husband was alive I spent endless time cleaning up after everyone. After he was gone, I thought of all that time I could have enjoyed sitting with him on the couch.

Some things aren't important. Life has clutter and sometimes our counters/tables do too!

I have been to people's houses where you literally walked on top of stuff to get to a chair or couch and then had to sit on top of laundry or whatever else was piled up there. It never kept me from visiting them. I didn't go to see their house. I went to see them.

I hope you two can visit soon.


Anonymous said...

Clutter should not keep us from spending time with the ones we love - we should be able to look past it...because love covers a multitude of "clutter".

I love the bulletin board area for artwork and I think that I should figure an area like that in my home. Obviously your counters are clean and the house looks clean...some clutter can be very dirty...that would be a little more bothersome.

For me personally, I love my table to be clean (my desk on the other out!) For me, one of the specific times we all get together through the day is the evening it's important to be able to sit together around the table and eat...that is our special time.

I like what Dionne said about compromise, but I would also guess that is not always possible...because it takes two! =) I hope your Mom has a realization that time is fleeting...we must truly cherish the moments we have with each other....whether in a cluttered house, a handy-man repair shack (which is what I grew up in...walls missing, nothing complete, on and on it goes), or a mansion...because if we don't do it now, we'll have regrets when we can't.

Uniquely Yours Crafters said...

Thank you for sharing your story. So sorry you are going through this. I have a family member whose apt. is cluttered, but I still visit her. I will pray that your mom will see beyond the clutter. Maybe you could just be sure that there is a clear path to a comfortable chair for her. Praying for you, Sue.

Anonymous said...

Your kitchen looks about like mine the past few days! I like that I actually live in my home. I didn't see any milk running down the cupboards so I think you're doing great. I hope you and your mom can come to a solution.

Janice said...

Hi, I don't know don't know me (I dont' think!). I came to your blog by way of another blog that I read.

Here are my thoughts. I can feel your pain. And I appreciate that you've attempted to make compromises. And I agree with others that it takes two. However, in the end, what does it matter who compromises more? When you bury YOUR mother, the mother of a lifetime, the only one you have....what will matter? I think sometimes we need to suck it up, give it over to God, and like Nike says - just do it. Your Mother is well into her 80's and while it might be nice to hope for change, in reality, she is set in her ways. God may be providing you the opportunity to go beyond yourself and to really be Jesus to her.

But those are just some outside thougts.....from someone who doesn't know you. Please feel free to completely disregard my words.

Oh, and no, I don't thik clutter, no matter how bad, should prevent someone from visiting.

and one more thought - I really do hope that you two find your way to each other somehow so that you can enjoy one another and make memories worth holding on to.


Luella Newkirk said...

A difficult situation. I find it difficult to function in clutter but I can clutter a room in an hour and clutter the entire house in a day. In order to start another project everything has to be uncluttered. I have never thought to project this on anyone else and when I go to family or friends houses I try to make sure I don't step or sit on things that are straying. They are who I came to see, not their kitchen or workroom, living room, etc.

This reminds me of a saying that goes like this, "You have to learn from the mistakes of others because you won't live long enough to make them all yourself."

I know as a Christian 'all things work together for good . . .'. I think most of us can identify a particularly difficult person in our family. My prayer is that if you cannot spend time with your mother on earth that you will look forward to a time together in eternity! God is merciful!

*~Niki~* said...

I pray Sue that you both will be able to see each other soon and enjoy each other's company, without anything standing in both your ways. Blessings Niki x

Kelly Bermudez said...

the Lord reminded me of a verse...

"Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase comes by the strength of the ox."
Proverbs 14:4

I use to stress about my house and lose my priorities too...I have 4 kids, 2 yorkies and 2 birds...When God gave me this verse I was able to instead of stressing, Thank Him for all of these sweet messy little reminders:)Because I have a house Full of family, full of fun and activity and full of love. I would much rather have had that, than have a spotlessly clean "trough": ) I sure will pray for your mom's heart to be softened: ) And that God will bring amazing reconciliation: )

Angels and Everlastings said...

You know I am always envious of the person who can keep an organized house. I have never been one of those people. My house certainly has a lived in feeling. Every so often I need to go through and put everything away or throw away stuff. It doesn't stay organized too long though.

Kim said...

praying you will get to spend some quality time with your mother and that she will be able to see beyond the little things like "clutter." Cause that's what it is . . .a little thing:)

bananaorangeapple said...

Hi Judy,

I don't think your house looks cluttered, but I have been watching a few terrible shows about hoarders recently so I may be getting immune!

My opinion is you won't have your mum around for too much longer so you should try to meet her for a coffee or a stroll in the park on a regular basis. I wouldn't waste time waiting for her to come around, since she seems to have been set in her ways for a long time now.

bananaorangeapple said...

So sorry I called you Judy just now, I must have been thinking of my own dear mother LOL.
Can you please forgive me Sue Dear?

sammysgrammy said...

I can't believe I just lost my comment........Sue, ask Holy Spirit to give you creative ways to see your mom that are convenient for the both of you...a movie, a car rise on a beautiful spring/summer day (with an ice cream cone included), a cool coffee shop that has baked goods too. Time is too precious to waste looking back. Regrets are awful