From Polly Pocket Shoes to Tiny Rubber Bands for Braces: A Brief History of My Vacuuming

While vacuuming the hallway, I notice a few tiny rubber bands from my oldest daughter’s braces kit. I suck them up with the vacuum attachment, and I remember the same scene from a decade before, only this time, I’m not vacuuming bands; it’s Polly Pocket shoes.

As I move down the stairs, vacuuming each landing where their little feet have run up and down—in Christmas pajamas, in wet bathing suits, in Halloween costumes, and Easter dresses—the whole movie of our lives plays out. I vacuum and remember.

Time moves on, and I vacuum the evidence of sparkles and pine, caked summer mud, crumbs, and tiny shoes from Polly Pocket.

And today it was the tiny bands that remind me of where we’ve been and how quickly their future adult life approaches. But on this day, I vacuum bedrooms and then fluff the pillows on their beds. I count the hours till after school snack, the emptying of backpacks, and all the pencil shavings that I’ll vacuum next.

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