Emma has told me several times over the last few days that she intends to clean the whole house this weekend. By herself. I’m both touched and dismayed by her offer, because she’s still a little kid and while I want her to participate in organizing and maintaining our home, I see her desire to take over as a sign of failure on my part. Or maybe she’s way more ambitious than I give her credit for and this is the first step towards a run for the White House in 2052.
Anyway, to show her dedication, she decided to do a little decluttering with some help from her best friend. They took a large box I’d half-filled with stuff from the house and garage, and dumped it onto the floor. I resisted the urge to sit them down and address the irony of creating a mess on the road to eliminating a mess.
Then they went into her room and filled the box with things she no longer wanted. She also gave her friend a play set she hasn’t used in a while. I felt proud of her for being so generous. And I’m glad to see her showing more willingness to part with her things.
But I admit my heart hurt more than a little when I saw all those little stuffed animals she used to love. I’m fighting my conflicting feelings of wanting all toys out of my house and not wanting to let go of them. Many of those things were non-negotiable to me, things I would never have chosen to give away. But I reminded myself that these are her things and her decisions and whether or not they’re special to me is irrelevant.
There was an exception. I was surprised to see a few favorite books from her toddler years, books she read to her dolls just a few weeks ago. While I resisted the urge to pull out some of those toys, I decided to keep the books. There are only three of them and they’re small. One day she may want them, and if not, I’ll probably still keep them. Bob and I read those books to her so often that we all know them by heart. Even now I bet I could probably pick up each story after the first page refreshed my memory. Trying to put her to bed during the toddler years was frequently borderline hellish, but these books are a sweet reminder that there were some pleasant parts.
In less-sentimental news, I’m working on my 15-minutes-a-day plan, though today required me to spend a lot more than 15 minutes because the house was a disaster. For some reason I thought my schedule would let up this week. But last night I sat down with my calendar to plan out my week and realized I will still have a lot with work, Scouts, and a few odds and ends I need to complete. I’ve also realized that last week I used my anxiety over all the balls I was juggling as an excuse to let everything go to hell. I don’t want to do that again. This article has nothing earth-shatteringly original, but sometimes it helps to be reminded of good, time-tested ideas. One tip, getting up a half hour earlier, is very, very painful but I’m going to try it anyway. I have a bad habit of surfing the internet while inhaling my first cup of coffee, which also needs to stop. I’ve been justifying it by telling myself I can’t do anything productive until some caffeine has seeped into my brain but emptying the dishwasher would be a more productive way to use the time and calls for minimal brainpower.
I reorganized the linen closet, again. Usually when I do these smaller spaces, I remove everything, separating things to donate from things to keep. Since I did a big purge in January, I just straightened it out this time. I’ve been meaning to paint and try to make this closet pretty, but it hasn’t happened yet.
I’ve scheduled a donation pickup for Thursday, so I need to fill a few more boxes and bags before then. I’ll share more about that on Wednesday.