My Dad would come home from work with a smile on his face, which would soon turn into a frown and a sigh. Once again, one of us kids had thrown our jacket/backpack/sports bag on the couch in the family room instead of putting it in it's proper place. It was just so easy to do! The couch was right in front of you when you entered through the back door, and we were tired and hungry and immature. It was a pretty minor offense in the grand scheme of things, but it was also my Dad's pet peeve. "Hang up your coats! Put away your shoes! There's no maid that lives here!"
He always said that to us: "There's no maid here!" which used to drive me crazy. I already knew there was no maid that lived with us, I wished a maid had lived with us, and I didn't need to be reminded of her lacking presence daily. What was I, a slave???
Fast forward 20 years and six kids of my own later...
Guess what I overheard my own sweet husband telling the kids on the daily? "Pick up your stuff! Clean up your room! There's no maid here!" And it just warms the cockles of my heart! Now in my role as wife and mom, I finally get why it drove my Dad crazy. It wasn't because he was trying to teach us to be neat (though there was that too!), it bothered him that we were disrespecting our mother, his wife. By making a mess and expecting her to clean it up, we were defining her role as our house cleaner, chauffeur, and cook. And she was so much more than that! My Dad knew it, and wanted us to know it too. I overheard Phil say to J-P "When you leave all your stuff around, you are basically saying to Mom that you expect her to clean up after you. That you are too good to pick things up, but she is not." And a light dawned on J-P's big Sweeney head, he finally got it, there is no magical invisible maid. There is only Mom (and Dad).
I never doubted the love my Dad has for my Mom, and I never doubt the love Phil has for me, because teaching kids to respect and help their mother is one of the most loving acts a husband can do for his wife.
Well that and hiring a maid ;)