Posts Tagged With: Order

 
 

Are Your Edges Tucked in Neatly or Sprawling?

Friday Letter to my Kids – March 6, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

Last night your Dad told me I’m predictable. This floored me. Sure I like to have some stability in my life, some routine. I seem to function best when I can anticipate and plan. Aren’t most people that way?

And you four, of all people, know my life has been mostly anything but predictable. I’ve learned to be a chameleon, adapting to all the various hues life’s thrown at me. Sometimes, I’ve felt like one of those Color Race runners, smeared in so much color it’s tough to figure out who’s who. I’m flexible and easy-going. That’s not predictable, is it?

In homage to my perceived unpredictability and spontaneity I even changed my mini chalkboard to this quote recently:

This week's thought...

This week’s thought…

Compared to your Dad, I suppose,  I’m a brick of predictability, a Stonehenge-sized rock of boringness, an Easter Island statue of immovability.

People keep holding up these mirrors that show me I’m not who I think I am. It’s a little unnerving and discombobulating and confusing and annoying.

I am cheerful though, usually. I at least try to maintain cheerfulness amid my staunchly dry toast without butter demeanor. Sitting here at my freshly cleaned up desk and pristine “writing room/guest bedroom” I look at my bulletin board and read these thoughts which daily remind me of my wish to be contagiously happy and sunshiny.

See, cheery thoughts that I look at multiple times a day. I might be predictable, but at least I’m smiling.

Why do I see being predictable as something negative? I’m not sure your Dad meant it as a negative. He probably said it as a fact, something with no value judgment attached at all.

There’s much to be said for predictability, stability and stick-to-it-iveness. It’s pretty much what keeps the world going forward. But then, so to, the unpredictable, unstable, outside-the-box-thinkers, who never want to color inside the lines or conform to anything. That’s where innovation and invention lives and produces. Mostly, anyway.

This saying also hangs within view from my desk:

photo 3-5 copy 11

A good idea.

It should probably be in Dad’s office and not mine. He has bigger dreams than I have. Mine are tiny and tentative and his are the epic kind that can change the world given a foothold. Or I could make one for each of you, since you’re young when dreams have such promise and possibility.

I guess I’ve always seen myself as a creative thinker. But, really, I’m a schlumpy, by the clock kind of person. I like to be on time or early. I like to have things to look forward to. I like a schedule and a plan. Even if I’m not great at following through with those plans. I need structure.

Where each of you fit on that spectrum, I’m not certain.  I know I’m wowed by what you accomplish and by how fearlessly you face forward. As always, I’m amazed that you’re my kids. I think you’re more like your Dad than like me. And that’s a good thing. A very good thing.

Really, you’re each simply a good mix of both your Dad and me and a bunch of stuff that’s uniquely your own. It’s fun watching you be you. Not a one of you has been predictable yet.

I sure love you!

Mom

~~~~~

“In fiction: we find the predictable boring. In real life: we find the unpredictable terrifying.” ~Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Categories: Friday Letters, Friday Letters to My Kids | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Garage Nirvana

I did it.

Yup, finally and unequivocally I succeeded. It’s been a dream of mine for years now. And it happened.

I know to many of you it will seem silly and inconsequential. To me it is the first major accomplishment in a long list of successes to follow. At least I hope so.

What, pray tell, is this amazing feat I’ve managed?

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Look, it fits!! Hurrah!

My truck now fits inside the garage.

Ta da!!

I’m sorry if you feel let down. Maybe I can explain why this is so amazing to me and why I’m so happy about it. Then, you too, can celebrate and feel the wonder and peace that I now feel.

I have always been a person who thrives on order and predictability. As a kid I couldn’t fall asleep at night if my room were messy. Some nights I’d turn on the light and sort, organize, dust, sweep and mop for several hours before I could finally and blissfully fall into a well-ordered sleep.

To a child the world screams chaos and lack of control. Everyone else holds the puppet strings of your life, everything else dictates your every waking moment. Planning ahead yields little results when you’re young. Keeping my bedroom orderly and neat gave me one aspect of life that I could control.

I suppose I could have inflicted my own chaos into my bedroom, like so many children do, as a way of saying “this is my space, my life, don’t mess with this.” I see messy children’s bedrooms as just such a ploy to have some control in their lives. Chaotic control. Odd, but effective. Most parents are powerless to keep their children’s rooms clean.

I was the opposite. I cleaned, shined, tucked, folded and sorted. I loved the sense of calm a well-organized room brought with it. Honestly, with all the siblings I had, it was the one area in my life that was peaceful.

I always dreamed I’d have a clean and orderly home. A predictable world, a calm life.

Then I got married to a man who owned STUFF. He already had a 5 x 7 storage unit full of boxes of stuff. Me? I owned two boxes, one of which was books. And then we had children who need all kinds of stuff, beyond belief amounts of stuff.

And, it turns out, real life as an adult runs differently than the one a person fantasizes about as a youth.

Sigh.

Organize

Secret handbook I missed out on getting??  (Photo credit: alborzshawn)

We seemed to spontaneously produce STUFF like rabbits reproduce. I’m still not sure how that happens, the stuff, not the rabbits. I feel like I missed an important lecture day at school once in fifth or sixth grade. Maybe they taught “How STUFF replicates and how to prevent it.” Wish I’d been there that day.

Anyway, fast forward to life beyond apartments to life with a garage to store all the stuff. Not many people realize it, but garages were originally invented to house vehicles, not boxes of miscellaneous crap and treasures.

So while our not so pricey and not so shiny vehicles have spent summers and winters, rain and dust storms outside in the elements, our cardboard treasure trove has baked and frozen season after season in the garage.

About once a year we attempt to deal with it all. We vow to downsize, we garage sale, we donate, we sort, we give away, we send kids home with boxes, we fill up the trash bin, we recycle, we even bring things into the house. But the stuff seems to continue to take up just enough space in the garage that a car, even a small one, just can’t squeeze in. (I chronicle this event in an earlier post here.)

I admit to coveting those garages with cabinets with doors and a pristine finish on the cement floor. Oh, and no oil leak puddles.

But no more.

A few months ago, after sending children and their own boxes out into the world on their own adventures, I squished and scrunched, sorted and tossed and made room for my truck to fit inside the garage. The door even closes! It sounds easier than it was, but I’ll spare you the details.

Why is this such a big deal?

Because it gives me hope that the inside of my house, especially the closets and cabinets, can also reach garage nirvana. One day I’ll be able to open a cabinet door and, voilà, what I need will be exactly where I knew it would be.

“A place for everything and everything in its place.” Peace will finally be mine.

Someday, soon.

Of course, there’s an awful loud quietness about the house now that the kids have moved on. Apparently that’s the price of order.

Perhaps I’ll leave a bit of chaos about the house after all.

Maybe I’ll just stand in the garage doorway and admire my handiwork. The rest of the house can wait for a bit.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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