Today marks the first day of "Get Your Shit Together."
I need to get my shit together.
When some folks say that, they may be referring to their physical condition, maybe they need to exercise more, finally get in shape, eat healthier. Others may say it in reference to their career. Maybe they are stuck in a dead end job, making far less than they deserve. While an entirely different set of individuals may use that phrase to describe the stage of life they are in, finally stop being a kid and grow up stage. Not me. I mean it in the most literal sense. Well, maybe not quite literal, I'm not trying to organize feces or anything, just the four years of shit I've accumulated since Alice was born. Memorabilia, if you will.
I am not a neat freak. I have no qualms with a minimal amount of clutter. Given the choice between playing games with Alice or cleaning, I'll always choose the game. The dirt will still be here day in day out for the rest of my life, four year old Alice will not. I am, however, organized. I always know where everything is. Hatta loses countless things every week. Not only does this not happen to me, I can usually locate the lost item for him. Now, I'll be the first to admit it doesn't appear that I have a grand organizational system, but clearly I must. I don't lose things. I don't misplace items. On the rare occasion that it happens, sadly, I am merely human, I berate myself to no end. I do not enjoy "pulling a Hatta."
When it was just my shit I was keeping track of, it was easy breezy. Enter Alice and the gawd alfuwl responsibility of preserving her childhood so one day thirty years from now she doesn't criticize me for not saving every freakin memento of her past. I speak from experience. I chastised my mother countless times about my baby book, or lack there of. I know what it felt like to see my older sisters' baby books and know that mine ended well before kindergarten.
So, I've been saving it all. Every birthday card. Every potty sticker chart. Every height/weight card from the pediatrician. Every letter from the Easter Bunny. If it could be saved, I did. Then there's the artwork. I've saved a lot. More than a lot. Samples of her drawing at each stage of her life. Collages, paintings, handprints...saved them all. I tried to remember to date the back, but to be honest I wasn't always successful. Not knowing what to do with all of this shit, I've been creating stacks of it here, paper bags of it there. Four years of Alice's life is starting to take a toll on my sanity. It's always been my crux. In the back of my mind I've tortured myself with the stacks of cards and drawings, the incomplete baby book, all signs of my failure as a mother. Now, I'm smart enough to know a baby book does not measure a mother, nevertheless, it still haunts my thoughts.
Today I started. I began separating and categorizing, organizing and purging. I've simplified my original grand plans to a much more managing filing system. The end outcome will be the same. Alice with have tokens of her childhood to look back on when she's older. She will know I cared.
And to you dear Alice, when you look back on the memorabilia and you come across the photos of you sitting in Santa's lap and you feel a picture is missing and your initial reaction is to blame your mother for losing your two year old Santa picture, think again missy may. I did no such thing. I took you to see Santa. I placed you in his lap. You screamed bloodly murder. Three years in a row. They actually used your one year old crying picture in their advertising. I refused to buy another photo of you crying. We tried on two separate occasions to convince you he wasn't the second coming of Satan. You had your own opinions and now you have a blip in your Santa photo saga.