HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
July 2, 2007, Herald Journal

Because I said so, that’s why

By JEN BAKKEN

The other day it, happened. I can’t believe it not only occurred, but that I’m actually admitting it.

I became my mother.

Being like my mother is not a bad thing, it really isn’t, I love my mom, but when I was young, there were times when I’d look at her and think, “I am never going to do that!” or “I am never going to say that!”

Boy, was I wrong.

It was never anything terrible, just little things. For example; I thought I wouldn’t need, or want, to keep my house as clean as she does. I will never be as good at housekeeping as my mother, but suddenly, as if overnight, I care about cleaning in ways I never imagined I would. Such as when company comes to the house.

My mother goes into overdrive when she knows anyone will be walking through her door, cleaning her home from top to bottom, inside and out.

As a kid I remember thinking, “Why are we cleaning before people come to our house. Won’t they just make a mess anyway? “Why clean twice?” and “Why can’t we just hide things in our closets? Who, in the world, will look in them anyway?”

Of course those questions would annoy the heck out of my mother and then I would get, “The Look.”

Whether her hands were, firmly planted, on her hips or held, sternly, across her chest, “The Look” meant the same thing, “Because I said so, that’s why!”

She didn’t need to utter those words, ‘The Look’ was enough and I just knew.

My children know it too and, apparently. “The Look” has been passed down a generation. Or maybe it’s something all mothers are blessed with, which is nice, because there are definitely times when it is absolutely necessary and comes in quite handy.

Like it did for me the other day, while preparing for my grandmothers 80th birthday party.

I was running around like a crazy person, cleaning my home from top to bottom, inside and out.

Sound familiar?

I stopped and dismissed the strong feeling of déjà vu I experienced.

I had to get my house clean!

I put everyone to work, and would have put the neighbor boy or the family cat to work if I could have.

Just like mom? No way, I was simply cleaning my house, or so I thought.

I pulled weeds from little cracks in the driveway and scrubbed old lawn chairs so they’d appear new, as if they had never been outdoors. I moved to the garage organizing shelves and wiping cobwebs from corners, and doing all of the above in humid 90 degree heat. Once indoors, I found my family frantically anticipating my inspection of the chores I’d given them. Yes, I checked closets, under beds, and I even made sure the basement storage room was clean. (If there were a tornado warning, that’s where everyone would need to take cover. Far fetched, but it could happen.)

And just as I had questioned when I was young, my children began asking, “Why are we cleaning before people come to our house. Won’t they just make a mess anyway? Why clean twice?” and “Why can’t we just hide things in our closets? Who in the world will look in them anyway?”

Of course, those questions annoyed the heck out of me, as they did my mother years earlier, and there I stood, my hands firmly planted on my hips, almost to the point of bruising them, giving . . . “The Look.”

At the same time thinking to myself, after all these years, I finally understand my mother!

So, to all you children out there, listen to your mothers and clean out your closets.

Why, you ask?

Because I said so, that’s why!

Do you have a Tiny Tale to share?

Tiny Tales is a column dedicated to children in our community, and the times when they create a wonderful story to tell. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, family member, caregiver, teacher or anyone with a child in your life . . . there’s always a tiny tale to tell.

It may be cute or funny things a child has said or done. Any of those endearing moments you love to share with others, and people, like me, enjoy reading.

Here in Delano we are proud of our community, our schools and our children . . . why not have a column about our little ‘tigers’?

You can e-mail your tiny tales to; jbakken@hjpub.com, fax them to 763-972-1029 or mail them to Tiny Tales, 430 Hwy 12 E. Suite 4, PO Box 498, Delano, MN 55328.