gratitude-a-thon day 416: letting it go


What is it that makes those of us keep stuff that we don’t really want to keep anymore? Why, for some people, do we hold onto particular items like they were appendages, even though we want to shed them like unwanted body hair and cellulite?

I am cleaning. Cleaning like I’m moving. Getting rid of shit I don’t want, and allowing myself to let it go, buy bye. It makes me feel like I’ve lost weight. And that’s always good.

One problem I have is sentimentality. The blankets Jake and Ally carried around as toddlers, their “Bi’s” as they were called, and don’t ask, maybe they were bisexual blankets, I don’t know. Those are ok to keep, right? They might even like them when they’re older, but what about every piece of paper they ever touched with a marker, pen, pencil, crayon, paintbrush? Um, not so much. What about all those books that signify a time when we read to them, over and over and over again before bed? What if they want them for their own kids? Buy ’em again, I say, and purge. But these are the kinds of things I run into when I’m trying to get clean. These are the nagging decisions. An old soccer shirt collection of Ally’s, a million photos (and seriously, I think there might be a million), a puppet theater, a high end electric organ. I just recycled a pile of home magazines that I’ve been collecting over the past decade, if not longer. I believe, if I’d counted, I would have been at around 400, at least. It was like my hands were magnetic, with the pull those magazines had on me. But out they went into the blue bin. My kids think I might sneak out in the night and bring them back into the house. But they’re wrong. It feels good to liquidate. A little piece of my brain has opened back up for business.

And so, I will keep up this commitment to clean for as long as it takes. And I will float around feeling lighter, better, more organized. And I will try to stop being that person who keeps things because they signify a different time. That ship has sailed. And unless you allow it out of your harbor, no other boats can come gliding in.



gratitude-a-thon day 200: new pencils


This is the time of year when school starting begins to become apparent and I feel the need for new pencils.

Actually, I feel the need for order. Complete and total orderliness. I guess that’s a way to tame my transition anxiety. And there has never been a bigger transitional year than this one. So, maybe I will get my house into tip top shape. I doubt it, but a girl can dream.

I don’t love cleaning. I love a clean house, and I love to make beauty where I live, but I’m a little bit of a hoarder and did I mention the three barnyard animals I live with? So, keeping things organized is sort of my job, and my job alone. And it’s too big for me. Plus, like I said, it’s not something I enjoy. I know you’re probably thinking, “Does ANYBODY enjoy cleaning?” But I know people who do. I know women who are really neat and keep things spotless and military regime orderly. ¬†And they make me feel like a sloth. I have had a cleaning lady (who I LOVE) for 22 years (the same one) and she is part of our family. If I didn’t have her, my house would likely be condemned, and I would be shipped off to some sort of prison where messy mothers are taught how to use Windex. I should mention here that I make a lovely greeting card, and wrap a very nice gift, just so that you know that I’m not totally without skills.

Anyway, I am grateful that this year, I am just going to try and be nice to myself during this period before school and the big college departure takes place. I am going to try and put everything in its place, because I know that will bizarrely soothe me, while I step into this big change. So, as the leaves begin to morph from green to orange and yellow, I will be sharpening pencils (and hopefully not poking out my eyes with them).