Friday, August 27, 2010

About Last Night and An Itchy Rash

So, last night, seemingly out of nowhere, this giant ball of anxiety just appears and sits on my head, making me cranky and sleepless for the majority of the evening. This has persisted through today and is now polluting my Friday night as well. Bah. I have a glass of wine and a fun project on standby for when I'm done here. The rash is most likely stress - or I'm suddenly allergic to Percocet.

I'm here to see if I can make some sense of my head and let you into my thought processes a bit.

I'm stressing about my house being disorganized. I can feel the clutter coming to get me. Now, granted, my house is cleaner than it's been in years and I've got quite the routine down to keep it mostly picked up around the kids, but I can hear the lost boxes and forgotten closets calling to me. My utility room is waiting patiently to be transformed into Craftopia. I get unseasonably excited at the thought of reorganizing, putting things in their place, even a bit giddy at the prospect of freeing myself from years of moldy possessions weighing me down.

But I'm scared, too. Because I know I have trouble letting go and I know there are things I just need to let go of. Maybe I need to admit defeat and get rid of some of my more ambitious projects. A lot of the fears and indecision that lead to my Seasonal Craftiness in the first place are still apparent. I know that if I want to truly excel at something, I need to focus on the things I love to do and let other things fall away. Same for decluttering and reorganizing - focus on the things that really matter and let everything else go.

The other thing that gets me is knowing that keeping the house from getting recluttered will be a constant battle, and I'm not talking about the kids. I'm a pack rat by nature. My husband is a pack rat, the child of pack rats. I was too. Heck, my grandparents were pack rats. Through my own family, I got to see different aspects and problems of being a pack rat. My mom's mom held on to stuff - things that could be used again, sentimental treasures, craft supplies (always useful!) and furniture. My dad's mom was more of a hoarder - she would buy pretty much anything on sale at the grocery store and her basement was filled with canned goods, cases of soda and a freezer stuffed with food - most of which she never used. An upstairs bedroom housed the soap, cleaning supplies and paper towels. I also saw what happens when a pack rat dies and the kids are left to clean up. My dad and his siblings were left with a huge mess, essentially. Most of what was there couldn't even be donated - many of the canned goods were expired. My mom is coming up to a point, now that her dad is in nursing care, that she has to face the stuff and clean out the house. It terrifies her and I know it. I wouldn't want to sort through a houseful of memories and have to be the one to decide what's worthy of keeping, especially in a house with so much history. There are things from great-grandparents and even further back than that.

But you can't take it with you.

So, I turn my vision on my own family - what do I want to leave my kids with? What kind of home life do I want them to see? Completely organized is so ... sterile. While it would be great to always know where everything is, living in the cover of a magazine is stifling. I want the kids to see rows and rows of books in the living room. I want the kids to be able to poke through Mom's fabric, or yarn, looking for something to make or a request for something to add to my project list. I want my kids to come across the occasional cache of baby clothes, spurring warm memories of what it was like when they were very small. The sweater Mom made for me. The books Dad read as a kid. Andy's first painting. Maggie's first hat. Joan's beloved dinosaur.

Growing up, I loved poking through my mom's stuff. I thrilled to finding some dusty artifact or old photo with a story attached. It gave me a connection to a past I never knew I had. It made people I'd never met real and living relatives more human. The things were a physical representation of the tales - a way to touch the past. Problem was, there wasn't much of it. We moved a lot and my mom was constantly faced with deciding what was worth packing and moving, and what had to go. Things got lost or destroyed in transit. So, I treasured everything. I held onto my own growing collection, in the anticipation of passing my own stories down. I became the next generation of pack rat. Now, I need to deal with it. I need to decide what things are necessary to tell the stories of my life and my family's life.

I just know that I want to leave them with the treasures, and not a reminder of how unhinged I really was.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Definitely gonna recommend this post to a few friends