As I held my precious baby daughter in my arms for the first time, I imagined all the wonderful things that she would one day be. Visions of little pink tutus and ballet slippers flashed through my head. My little baby dressed up for her first Halloween in the most adorable pumpkin costume ever. Of course, she’ll win first prize! I envisioned the wide beam spread across my face as she walks across the auditorium stage to receive her high school diploma with honors. My baby genius. Gets it from me, of course. Then the image every father dreads, the moment I first saw her in her wedding gown, a hard lump in my throat as we take that final walk down the aisle, and I place her hand in that of the man who will become her husband. Those moments were so crystal clear in my mind’s eye that I could almost reach out and touch them.
Yet that gorgeous little creature had a few tricks up her sleeve even back then. I wasn’t expecting a teenage daughter who logged so many cell phone hours that I was forced to Google “surgical Iphone removal options.” Another surprise awaited me in the discovery of the lovingly prepared tuna sandwich stuffed under my darling daughter’s bed, now rancid with two weeks’ growth of mold and a stench that could wipe out the entire neighborhood with one whiff. Who knew that being the parent of a teenage daughter would require a Hazmat suit?
Neither did I ever think I would need to scale a veritable Mount Vesuvius of junk all just to deliver some clean laundry to her room.
I can’t deny it any more though I can completely blame it on her mother since she couldn’t possibly have gotten it from me. Yes, this teenage girl who stands before me is my beautiful daughter capable of all of the moments I have dreamed of before. But she came with an added “bonus” I wasn’t quite expecting. Yes, it’s true. My daughter is a slob.
Three Things I Wonder About My Daughter
I’ve pondered this issue for a long time now. I’m not a messy person, and as much as I like to joke about it, neither is my wife. We keep our house clean and organized at all times. Where in the world did my daughter develop this appetite for destruction?
Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to these three things:
Does she have any sense of smell?
The movie The Sixth Sense popularized the phrase, “I see dead people.” We have a variation of that theme going on at our house. You walk into my daughter’s room, and it smells like dead people. Or at least SOMETHING dead.
What perplexes me is she doesn’t seem to notice the smell. Honestly, it’s bad enough to make your eyes start to water the minute you walk into the room. How can she live in that room—sleep in that room—and not realize that it smells like where dirty sweat socks go to die?
The only conclusion I can come to is she has no sense of smell. The combined stench of rotting, moldy tuna sandwiches, dirty underwear, and leftover McDonald cups bearing congealed milkshake remnants is a “winning” combination if you’re trying to put together a weapon worthy of “keeping America safe again.” If that is her objective, she takes first prize. Otherwise, the room could benefit from a couple of days spent with the team from Hoarders.
All I can say is the smell is bad. And if she can’t smell it; well, maybe her mother and I need to look into nasal therapy to repair her olfactory senses before the cockroaches come to carry the entire house off.
How does she find anything?
To me, everything has a place, and everything should be in its place. If things aren’t in their place, I find it challenging to get anything productive done.
My daughter, however, seems to have a super power. No matter how high the mess, no matter how deep; she can find anything. Even though I walk into the room and feel like Moses trying to part the Red Sea (but without divine assistance), I could request a random item, and my daughter could dive directly into the mess and retrieve said item nearly instantaneously. I’m not sure whether to be amazed or infuriated. After all, I feel traumatized just looking at the wreckage, and she jumps in with reckless abandon. Glee, even! She defies all logic.
It only makes sense that a cluttered space equates to lost productivity. Having easy access to the tools you need makes it easier to get the job done and done well. But then again, it was Albert Einstein who said, “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Well, if to follow that reasoning to the end, my desk is a sign that I have an empty mind. Which might actually be true since after I have to spend more than two seconds in my daughter’s tip of a bedroom, I feel like I’ve completely lost mine.
Should we just get her a dumpster?
I spend a lot of timing thinking about the best way to solve this problem. I worry about the things that are growing in my daughter’s bedroom; probably far more than is healthy for me. I worry if there were ever a fire if firefighters could even find her underneath all of the “normal” bedroom debris.
Even if she would let my wife and I clean it, I’m really not sure where to start. I think I might just end up curled up in the fetal position crying and repeatedly muttering, “Make it stop! Make it stop!”
So I’ve finally come to some conclusions. We really have two options and two options only. Sell the house in “as is” condition and move. Or get a dumpster, chuck it all, and start fresh. My wife isn’t a fan of either option, so I guess I’ve got some more thinking to do on this matter.
If you have a teenage daughter, you understand what I’m going through. I’m told that not all teenage girls are messy, but I’m pretty sure mine could win awards for the sheer volume of junk she can amass in her room. I can just hear it now. Anne Hathaway proudly saying, “Here are the nominees for Most Accumulated Stuff in a 10’ x 12’ space…” or possibly, “And the Oscar for Bedroom Most Resembling a War Zone goes to…” The competition could just stay home. My daughter is walking away with top prize, for sure.
Though I don’t love her mess, I do love my girl. She amazes me every day. I am charmed by her tender sweetness, her loving heart, and incredible beauty…and stunned by her mess. My only hope is she falls in love with a man who likes to clean.