I’ve been living in my garage—not by choice. When we downsized from our this BIG ole house, I thought I had been an expert sorter and tosser.
But, when one cannot park her car in the garage, there is a problem. So, I moved in—kind of. I spent four days in the garage and then crashed zombie-like into bed every night.
My daughter Jordan, who methinks is never going to move back to America, was responsible for 20 storage bins stacked along one wall. Within those tubs are pictures, medals, and other high school and college mementos, along with bedsheets, towels, and everything kitchen that I saved for her return.
I was oh so tempted to haul it all away. You know and I know that Jordan would come back within three months of me tossing the last bin.
But I couldn’t do it.
What I did do was pare 20 down to 14. I also happened upon her journals.
When I texted that news, I expected a frantic, “PLEASE don’t read them.” Instead, Jordan said, “Oh, I’m so glad.”
My daughter’s intuition must have told her that I had no plans to open those journals. Contrary to popular belief, Moms don’t need to know everything.
I thought I had given my middle child, Kristen, all of her bins. Turns out I missed a couple.
I removed a lid and discovered a pile of bears—Kristen’s bears. They stared up at me, wide-eyed, filling my mind with warm and fuzzy memories. No way could I toss them.
I snapped a photo of those sweet bears and uploaded with a text to my second-born.
“They’ve been wondering what happened to you,” I said. “I’ll drop them by your house.”
And I did, along with a bin of half-clothed Barbie dolls I also unearthed.
That left James Dean. Yes, the tragic film icon and teenage heartthrob.
From Charleston, SC to Gainesville, FL, and back to Charleston, the life-sized cardboard cutout of James Dean protected Kristen throughout her undergrad and graduate college years.
He really did. I’ve lost count of the times people screeched upon meeting James on the landing of her apartment stairway.
The problem is that Kristen’s husband Andrew does not care to compete with James Dean. Still, my daughter said, “I want him!”
They will work it out.
When I cleaned out our this ole house, my son Trey said, “Get rid of whatever you want, but please don’t throw out my Legos.”
I could have saved him the trouble of worrying. Gary and I paid for each and every one of our son’s thousands of Legos. Legos are expensive.
I passed over the Lego boxes to find that I had not heeded Trey’s instructions to trash everything else. I discovered greeting cards congratulating us on his birth and miniature plaster casts from a broken leg, broken wrist, and broken arm—all separate incidents.
Then I came upon my son’s second-grade journal. Second-grade journals beckon a mom to read the entries in a way high school and college diaries scream, “Stay away!”
A November entry read: “I am thankful for toys, my house, ants, my nose, Kristen, songs, Grandpa, Indians, Valintine’s Day, Insex, my neck, my Grandma.”
That Trey named his sister but neglected to mention his parents was not a surprise. Kristen has always come first.
Ants are also important—like grandparents. And thinking of “Valintines” Day at Thanksgiving says a lot about how my son prioritized his holidays.
I must admit the mention of “Insex” gave me pause until I realized “Insex” was a 2nd grader’s spelling for “insects.” And, I too, am thankful that my son has a neck. Necks are, well, irreplaceable.
I’m also thankful that—after four days of tossing and organizing—my car fits in the garage.