There is something wrong with me. I don’t have clutter around the house. I was reading an excerpt in a book and the author mentions her fridge is covered in stuff at least twelve years old. Things like her twenty-four year-old daughter’s 7th grade report card. What?? Not in my house. There’s nothing on my fridge. Now maybe because it’s stainless steel or maybe because I’m more concerned about being neat than being sweet. Sorry. Had to go there.
Now please understand, when the Noodges were younger I hung up art work from school, but on the inside of the pantry door. What can I say? Clutter makes me twitch. It’s the way I was raised. We lived in a museum. Now I’m the prison warden – I mean the museum curator – I mean the mom.
After a while I took the art work down, because how many pieces can you hang, and put them in storage boxes in the attic. The box did come with us when we moved to the country so you can see I’m sentimental just a little compulsive. Have I mentioned I’m Italian? And let’s be honest for a second, when the Noodges grow up, move out, maybe have kids of their own and I decide to bestow on them all their artwork from elementary school what do you think they’re going to say? Try: “My crazy mother kept all this junk. What am I supposed to do with a cut out turkey missing half its feathers I made in the first grade?” See. I’m just being proactive.
The worst thing that could have happened was report cards going paperless. Call me old-fashioned or just plain old, but I liked the report cards coming home in a small manila envelope I had to sign to prove I looked at it. Now, I’m lucky I go on-line to see it at all. Forget printing it out. Why? Just so I can shove it in the attic. You know how I feel about grades anyway.
Now, please don’t misunderstand my need to keep order as not being a big mush. I’ll hug you until you burst if you let me. (Small disclaimer: I have to know you and not sceeve you for me to get close enough to touch you.) I prepared time capsules for both Noodges from the year they were born respectively. Those capsules are filled with newspapers, magazines, a letter from me, sonogram pictures (’cause they’re really gonna want that!) I made baby books with pictures and stories. I video tape all their concerts, performances, and games. I’m the loudest cheerer in the stands. But I can’t clutter up my fridge with twelve year-old report cards. I’m twitching just thinking about it.
You know how each year near Christmas all the cards start arriving stuffed inside jeweled tone envelopes of red, green and gold? I love getting those cards with pictures of happy faces. I’m honored that each person thought enough of us to send them. I display them prominently for everyone who comes into my home to see, but when January 1 rolls around I take them down and I toss them. I hope you won’t hold it against me. I don’t see it as tossing away my friends and family. They are more to me than cards. Clean spaces just keep the ticks away.
Maybe some day I’ll change and take peace in the objects that fill in the clean places, but until then know that even though I don’t keep your Christmas cards or hang up all the report cards, I love you.