In 2010, I opened my studio and, truthfully, I have only really cleaned it 9 times since then. Of course I sweep the studio floors, wipe down the work benches, and vacuum the carpet in my office fairly regularly. But for a deep clean, I allot time at the end of each summer to do my annual studio clean up. My kids were little when the studio first opened and they would “help “ in the process which used to take a number of days due to their short attention spans and limited interest in cleaning. There was always a payment of some sort and a yummy lunch was mandatory. As they’ve gotten older, their ability and willingness to participate has changed. My daughter and I were talking today about the year my son refused to participate. He agreed to build my website which I felt was a fair exchange; she did not. This year with my son living in Pittsburgh, it was again just Abby and me. And even though it’s more effort with only two people, she is a hard worker, doesn’t complain and makes me laugh a lot. At one point, at the end of the day, we were both sweating, covered in various cleaning products, dirt, and spider webs. Due to a simultaneous driveway repair project, we had only a small patch of concrete to roll out a bunch of equipment. She had also polyurethaned the stairs so we were basically trapped in the studio. And that’s when we heard it— the sweet, tinny melody the ice cream man was playing as he rolled down the street. We looked at each other, I grabbed a few dollars and we both vaulted over the stairs and went flying down the street, waving our arms. When we finally caught up to him, we were both winded and laughing so hard we could barely speak. But he kindly waited for us to get it together and then took a picture with Abby. Exhausted and dirty, we couldn’t stop laughing as we ate our treats. My funny girl leaves for college next week and I cherish every minute she spends with me. I hope the sound of her laughter never leaves my head.