Tag Archives: Kids

The Big Clear Part Deux

I knew it would come and, with my dear E no longer little, it came with a vengeance. She has moved onto another chapter and the Vietnam Veterans, along with others, will benefit yet again. Without prodding, box after box came in from the garage and went out empty. She culled with such determination, I was both proud and panicky. Some items added to the pile tugged on my heartstrings but I stopped myself from pulling things off. The temptation to say “Awww” was overwhelming sometimes but this was strictly her deal and, if she could say thank you and goodbye, I needed to stay strong. Well, mostly. A couple of things have found their way to the cedar chest. But only a few special things she may see in photos years from now and wish she had kept. A belated surprise just from me to her.

This drive to clear puts me into gear to mine my contacts for new dads and grandmas. I feel I have a direct line to a few because over the last 6 months, I have collected money at work for several new babies. It makes me feel like Santa. With the nod from my good friend, E’s Disney fairy godmother through the years, I sold the two 3-foot Mickey and Minnie dolls to a friend who was on her way to her grandson’s birthday party. He was turning 1 year old and loved Mickey. She would be the winner that day. Many of these things can fetch money but it’s not worth the hassle. It’s much more fun giving things away. However, selling those two meant money in E’s bank account as she moves forward.

I gave away Pooh and friends to a 3-year-old who just became a sibling, three little boys got Buzz Lightyear and more (I am still hunting for Woody. I found his hat but so far, he hasn’t answered my calls), and Dumbo went to a little one who was still on the way. It’s all so much fun. I am still looking for that little girl who loves playing with baby dolls.

Throughout all this transition, my garage shrinks. I have a donation corner that is growing like weeds in a neglected garden, empty boxes to the ceiling, and, for a time, cartons of flooring took up a slice of valuable real estate. The floor was done last weekend so that has simply moved from one side to the other onto my empty box pile. As my previous postings have clearly shown, nothing in this house happens consecutively – everything happens at once.

The flurry is now a trickle so there is undoubtedly a part three and beyond in my future. Now it’s about breaking boxes and organizing the donation, adding extra kitchenware since the Veterans come in a little over two and a half weeks. I had already relocated Christmas decorations down from the loft to its own area so that won’t be an issue this year, thank goodness.

I look forward to one day soon opening my car door without it bouncing back on me. It’s the small wins that make me smile.

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The Big Clear

There has been a flurry of activity around our home lately. My E decided she was ready to shed some of the different lives she has led thus far, like Potterhead, Whovian, Runner (that’s Mazerunner for those without intimate knowledge on super fandoms,) and other kingdoms. In true Marie Kondo style, she parted with those things that did not spark joy and thanked them for their service. I have been waiting for this day for years and jumped in with gusto. Attempts to sell collectibles online were frustrating – a flashback to bags of beanie babies comes to mind. So the Vietnam Veterans of America were the recipients of our largesse. And what a mound it was.

This is not just fan stuff like little Flash figurines and spell books. Pounds of clothing, including shirts that say things like Expelliarmus, Geronimo, Girl Power, along with perfectly good pieces, outgrown in both body and spirit, were washed and bagged. Some plush, some pillows, that wavy mirror from IKEA, and lots of other fad and fashions that have outlived their usefulness here wound up on the pile. Whoever buys these will want them, and it will benefit a good cause at the same time.

While she was building her mountain, I rooted around in my garage for stuff to add. I did a lot of recycling, boxed books, adding camp and beach chairs not opened in years. The lot took up about a quarter of our generous driveway when pickup day arrived.

I was feeling refreshed until I opened the garage that night. I realized we had barely made a dent. Boxes still lined the walls, many of my drawers are still full, and a lot of books remained in E’s childhood bookcase that I passed down to her. And she had hit her limit on her clear-out state of mind. The window was closed until the next go-round which won’t be for a while. So I realized if we wanted to keep the momentum, it was my turn.

While E figured it was her past fandoms weighing down her future, my focus was first on paper. I have always been one to obsessively separate shred from recycle, removing addresses or names from each bit of junk mail to ensure nothing personal lands in the green bin. Unfortunately, this habit forces me to throw junk mail in a box until later or pile old files in my closet to wait for a rainy day – and those are pretty sparse in Southern California. Since I couldn’t walk into my closet to get to my filing drawer, this is what I did all weekend. Flash forward two days – the recycling bin is full, my shred bin runneth over, and my heart is full.

The next battle on the horizon is the kitchen. Too many of everything, fulfilling nothing except to take up cabinet space. Two sizes of water glasses fill a shelf where only the few in the front are used. The lower shelves bulge with pots, pans, and I don’t even remember what’s in the back. A tall pantry with deep shelves is both a blessing and a curse. Viewed now with clearer eyes, it all brings my past post about Living Life in Layers into real time and smacks me in the face.

I think a stay-cation is in order.


Filed under Memoir, Personal Life

A Good Day

I am told signs from the other side are all around us but people don’t recognize them. This is one of my experiences:

This was one of many first days of school. The year before was so traumatic for Little E. But this year, she did a total 180 degrees. She was jazzed, got the teacher she wanted, had a nice friend in the same class, ready to be a fifth grader.

Her song was from American Idol, the one they played when they show the clips of who got kicked off – “Had a Bad Day” by Daniel Powter. And we have always called it her song because of when it shows up. While picking up the balloons at the florist at 8:00 a.m. on her birthday party morning, it was playing. Again the same day when we were in the Paint-a-Dream with the girls. I know it was popular but the timing was always interesting, coming up at unique but clearly appropriate moments.

I told her I would walk her to class but she just wanted to be dropped off to meet her friend. As she jumped out, I warned her that there will always be ups and downs. (“I know, mom, I know” cue eye roll.)

I turned the wheel to pull out and the song came on. I almost stopped to catch her when I figured out it was probably for me this time, telling me she will be okay this year. Then I thought about who would be trying to tell us these things. Who would use that song? It could be my dad. Never into music since Glenn Miller, quirky cute songs like that appealed to him. Or it could be Grandpa Mike, who waited years for a granddaughter after so many boys, only to die suddenly when she was 18 months old. And it could even be my mom, who obsessively worried about our futures. No matter, the message is always at the right time and taken to heart with a nod to the heavens.

American Idol has been gone for a while, and the song is now old. But it still shows up just before we realize we really need it. It is my touchstone to slow down – to stop, look, and listen for the other signs I’m missing because I am racing through my life.

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