“Shit…what time is it”?!  Protein! she needs some protein today. Do we have…..sausages???? YES!!!  Sausages for breakfast. “Sam!!! pack up the car we gotta go go GO!!!!!”

I made sausages yesterday morning. Fried them up in a little sauce pan but running late again, they got a little too “brown” on one side. OK…they were burnt!  Regardless, I cut them up, fingered them into a small bowl and unceremoniously ushered my child out the door. Breakfast on the go!!!  Snatched backpack, Chumash diorama, got my purse, phone, that bowl of burnt-ish sausage, and oh get Lord your tea!  It’s a three-tea-bag  day… Oh Yeah!  Unplug the car, start the car, don’t spill the tea!!! The dashboard clock says 7:38. I have seven minutes. I got this!!  Backing up the car, I eye my daughter eyeing the  sausage. She shoots me a look which I shoot right back. “Ok, then..” is all she says, starting in on the least burnt piece. Yum!Yum!

Exhaling, we easy-breezy slalom down the canyon to the open sea. The morning Queen Anne’s Lace looks more like Queen Anne’s ruffle, white and frothing. Last night’s rain and the impending full moon is making her a little rabid at the shore. I swear my blood is tied to the sea. I feel a little rabid this morning too. We get to school with at least 30 seconds to spare. “I love you’s” hurriedly but meaningfully exchanged as the traffic parent yanks on the car door, before waving me unceremoniously on. “Bully” I think to myself, and ignoring his spazzed-out-traffic-cop dance I stop, abruptly roll down my window and holla, “I love you!!!! Have a great day!” My daughter tucks her head in utter shame, donning her cloak of invisibility, her retreating back clearly flashing “OMG MOM!!! You are soooo embarrassing me…. AGAIN!!!”  Oh well..who cares..  Poor thing. She is so tired of having that God awful embarrassing mother who refuses to behave like all the “cool moms”.   (I’ll explain the definition of what a cool Mom is, at a later time.) Just know… I ain’t it!

Next day. Yesterday’s burnt sausage pan is still soaking in the sink. Tonya my helper has tried washing the pan, but the black cruddy sausage remains are still sticking to the pan like atomic waste.  I suggest Tonya use some Comet and a rough sponge to scrub the pan. She tries but to no avail – the pan is still cruddy and she gives up.

Now, here’s the point. In a slightly, and I mean only slightly, impatient way, I grab the sponge, douse the pan with more Comet and begin to scrub. And this is what I say, “Miss Tonya, there are two kinds of women in this world: weak helpless women and strong capable women. You’re gonna have to make a choice, Miss Tonya, which kind of woman you’re going to be. I recommend you choose the latter- strong of mind, strong of spirit and strong of body. You see, these women –  women like our mothers and our grandmothers and their mothers before them: these were scrubbin’ women. A woman must know how to scrub – long and hard and deep.  On her knees, in the yard, in the blazing sun, or the dark-of-dawn before any sign of a sunrise. Because, baby girl, there are some things in this life that can only be healed or soothed or born in the act of scrubbing. Floors, walls, pots, burners, pans, toilets, sinks, tubs, tiles, anything and everything … we have got to know how to scrub. Scrubbin’ will save your life, your marriage, your children, your heart, your peace and your  ever-lovin’-mind. It will soothe you and steady you and hold you and rock you. It will carry you from the the shore of despair to an island of Grace. Scrub and weep, scrub till you surrender, scrub your demons, scrub a path back to God, back and yourself, back to your womb-mind that ain’t crazy no more. And when you scrub, lean into it. Lean into all the love and loss life has laid at your tender wounded feet. Put your hips into it your weight behind it your back and belly and heart into it. Scrub till your back aches and your knees are raw, and there is no sign of that overpriced manicure you have convinced yourself you can’t do yourself!  Scrub the shit out of your house!

And when you do, know that every woman who has ever lived or loved or birthed or buried, every mother or sister or daughter or auntie, every woman who has breathed or borne or suffered or survived, who lived and died, silenced or beaten or crucified and crying out, every woman who stood on the front line, or who quietly fell among the forgotten,……The souls of every woman ever born is with you. You are not scrubbing alone sister….You are not alone.

I think modern women have gotten soft. We have forgotten how to scrub. We don’t teach our daughters how to scrub. They don’t see their mamas on their knees, bringing life back to floorboards, whitening  that old tub, newspaper shining those cloudy windows so they can see outside clearly from the inside. We are forgetting how to bring the life up from the earth back into our bodies. Instead we take a pill or whine or turn on a TV and numb the fuck out. We are becoming women who desert ourselves and the Goddess and each other.  We are NOT helpless! We are THE most powerful force on the planet! We are Life Itself!!

When the going gets tough…Lean into Life…and Scrub.

Ladies. Lovely ain’t got to be pretty.

  1. Ok so I get it and I agree. Every woman has different gifts and strengths. I have college degrees, worked in law enforcement, and have spent more than 30 years as a carpenter and 7 years as a electrician. I get my ass up and work. At my house alone I have been remodeling for the last 3 or 4 years.Right now I am building 2 decks and a fence one at a time. I am modern with old school work ethics. I may not be a scrubber but I do back breaking hard damn work. Our house is clean working as a team to make it that way. I am a strong woman, strong mother, strong grand mother. I agree that whatever the work we as women need to be strong and not be lazy and weak.

  2. WOW! WOW! WOW! I always wait for you to post a new story and as usual it touches my life! I love how you end with “When the going gets tough…Lean into Life…and Scrub”. That statement alone should be in every women heart and mind daily! We have to do so much and it should began with scrubbing! I have to scrub daily, however, I was taught to scrub by my grandmother! That is how I am able to go through life when it gets rough! And Sam sounds like my daughter when it comes to how they look at us. HA!! I am not a cool parent either, however, she will live! LOL…..This is my LOVELY for the day! Love Ya!!

  3. Yes indeed!! “Lovely ain’t got to be pretty!” You are always on time with ‘the word’ Mrs. Lorraine!

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