Friday, August 30, 2019
Summer is coming to a close in much the way it began—full speed ahead. While the beginning was marked by, among other things, graduations times three, the ending is speeding toward the first day of school times three. E and Z start high school the same day we drop M off for college. I've never been so relieved that he chose a school 45 minutes from home. It would be one thing to miss your kids' first day of eighth grade or sophomore year, but the first day of freshman year requires some support.
I've also gotten it into my head to spend these last few weeks of summer tearing our house apart, decluttering, rearranging, touching up. This is partly because we have guests coming to stay in a few weeks, partly because it's been a long time since I cleaned the house from top to bottom and soon I'll be back to work and won't have time, and partly to make sure M doesn't go off to college, leaving his belongings cluttering up the rest of the house.
I suspect there might be another reason. After I found out I was pregnant with twins, on a Friday in early January, in one final burst of energy before succumbing to the exhaustion caused by being inhabited by two fetus-parasites, I spent that entire weekend dismantling Christmas, cleaning, and rearranging furniture in an unconscious effort to avoid confronting the reality of the situation. Perhaps I'm cleaning the house to avoid thinking about my baby launching off into the world (even if it is only 45 minutes from home).
I'm truly excited for this next stage of life for him, but last week, when we were driving to the big-box store to do a little dorm shopping, I had a vision of his three-year-old self reaching up to stuff his gigantic lunch box into the top of his preschool cubby, and my stomach dropped. Is this really the same kid. Has so much time really gone by?
Among the dust and cobwebs and junk, housecleaning has yielded a few Easter eggs—spots where the kids wrote on the walls (and doors and floors) long past the age when such behavior is reasonable, books I forgot I had, an envelope of photos from the Colorado Trail and a cute picture frame that wasn't being used for anything else.
I've also been practicing letting go—of toys and books the kids have outgrown, of items gifted or handed down from relatives that I've never used but have kept out of a sense of obligation. I'm not going full Marie Kondo—I love my books and dishes too much to be a minimalist—but as much as I'm tempted to write a book called "Happily Messy," I'm finding that what organization gurus say is true: a clean, well-organized space is more comfortable and relaxing. So while my living room and bedroom serve as staging areas for stuff that needs to find a new home, I find a bookcase that has been dusted and sorted or a picture in a frame on a shelf, and gaze at it for a few minutes to find my inner calm.
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