Cleaners and Cookies and the Christmas Spirit

It was a beautiful day yesterday in different ways.

I finally got the Christmas spirit.

Let me explain…

I was so incredibly uncomfortable having strangers come clean my house. Since I’ve had chemo for three years, it’s hasn’t been truly cleaned. It’s the energy theory.

You see, I only have so much energy to spend each day. If I know I’m going to be super busy, I’ll borrow energy from tomorrow, but that means I’ll be short energy the next day and have to choose what not to do.

Cleaning always loses out.

I finally said yes because I was chosen by the company to be the one winner this year. A mom of one of Quinn’s friends told them my story, and she set this up. The women walked in yesterday at 8:30 and went right to work. I was so flustered I left my phone in my bedroom and that’s where they started.

I had no idea what they would do… perhaps vacuum, mop and wipe down the bathrooms.

Upstairs we have my bedroom, my bathroom, Madison’s room and an open office area that rob hasn’t worked in for three years.

They worked upstairs for about six hours, organizing, dusting, scrubbing, even did laundry. I sat downstairs partially in awe at how they were cleaning and partially mortified it was obviously in need of such cleaning. I was so mortified I didn’t even go upstairs while they worked to get my phone.

So I sat on the couch and breathed and read an entire book. It was lovely. Then I baked cookies and fudge for my swap. Joanna, the head cleaner, came downstairs to ask if they could come back the next day to finish.

They worked until almost 4 pm and I dont think they even took a break. Rob tried to give them money and they refused. When Joanna said goodbye, I couldn’t help but cry. She hugged me and said she hoped I feel better.

It’s a hard thing to accept help. I always feel like people are willing because they feel like “This poor woman with stage four cancer is going to be dead soon…” Sympathy drowns you in the ocean of pity. That’s why we say no so much. Because accepting help makes it all real.

But this time?

I am so glad I said yes.

The funny thing is that the reason I said yes was because I was hosting my cookie swap for the first time in years and was excited my house would be clean. Wouldn’t you know the part they didn’t get to clean was where the party would be?

It actually worked out, because now today that part will be cleaned after the cookie crumbs hit the floor.

The cookie swap was lovely. I had gotten nervous was all day long because I kept getting texts from women saying they were sick or their kids were sick, so I was nervous no one would come.

I ended up with over twenty four or so women, and it was lovely. Someone said they couldn’t believe I did it, and asked if I was nervous.

I wasnt.

Because my tribe is full of women who just love me.

No judging.

Just love.

I may not go out with my girlfriends anymore, but I know they all still love me, even bald, thirty pounds heavier, exhausted, and a with partially clean house.

Everyone said they still had so much to do, but they were glad they came. It’s important to take time to stop and laugh and even eat a cookie or two.

My sister had to work, so we made sure to make a tray for the police station, as we always did in years past. While many are with family, there are also many working during the holidays. We are grateful for them.

Today I’ll finish wrapping, clean up from yesterday and have Joanna and her crew finish the house. My Hamptons Residence Services is the name of the company. I have nothing to compare them with, but to me, they were angels. If you need a cleaning service, I highly recommend these women.

When Joanna left, I was so overwhelmed with so many emotions… embarrassment at how long it would take to clean them my house, sadness at how exhausted I am all the time and how cancer changed the trajectory of my life so much that I have to choose whether to use energy cleaning or teaching, and extreme gratitude for this company and these women. I cried.

The ugly cry.

Joanna hugged me tight and whispered she hoped I felt better soon, and would be back tomorrow.

That’s when it happened.

The Christmas spirit flooded my heart.

Not because I did something, but because SHE did something.

She and her crew reminded me of how Jesus said to care for one another. They cleaned my house and didn’t want anything for it. They scrubbed and laundered and dusted, all for a

Woman they didn’t know… and are coming back on Christmas Eve to finish.

Everyone idolizes sports stars and movie stars. Me?

My heroes are people who clean and scrub the bathtub for a woman with cancer the day before Christmas Eve.

Kindness from strangers finally brought me the Christmas spirit, and it carried me through

to the cookie swap, where I was surrounded by women who love me.

I’m going to play polish Christmas carols and make the cleaners each a tray of cookies, which I hope they take.

We are going to church at 4, then having Christmas dinner with robs family.

I’ll finish wrapping today and tonight I’ll thank God for sending us a savior in the form of a little baby….

And thank this cleaning company for my clean house.

Today is the most magical day of the year.

The children wait for Santa, past hurts are set aside, hugs and love are given freely, and people remember the story of how love came down at Christmas to save us all.

Take some time today to sit with a warm mug

Of something delicious, and just breathe and feel the magic. Look at the twinkling lights and remember the loved ones who are no longer here, but still in our hearts.


Merry Christmas Eve everyone.

In Jesus’s name, amen.



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