There’s a group on Facebook, the Canny Women, who promote doing instead of buying, and every Tuesday they cheer their followers on through “Tackle a Pile Tuesday.” They can inspire or frustrate you depending on where you’re at–just being honest here. Today, they inspired me.
First I had seriously contemplated taking my only day that we didn’t have some place to be and going with the littles to the grocery store. They’re not a problem in the stores at all, it’s me. As the day progressed, and we all piled up and listened to our Princess read “Wiley and the Hairy Man” aloud, I just wanted to be home. I saw a post this afternoon by Canny Women where they asked what everyone was fixing for supper, and there was their slogan–“DO instead of BUY. Shop at home first.” Did I have food here? Yes. Could we make it without the trip to the grocery store? (well, I really wanted to get a few things to mix up our snack mix…..*whining*) YES, we absolutely could. Even our Princess who insisted she was out of shampoo realized that she really wasn’t, and all was well with the world again. We stayed home, we had three good meals and a snack today, and we actually have enough that tomorrow is going to be grocery store free as well. A great big whoo hoo!
And even though it’s not Tuesday, I decided to go one step further and make it “Move a Mountain Monday.” Yeah, piles just didn’t describe what I was facing anymore. Here’s what was in that mountain–
College advertisements, enticing, tempting, offering my child money and all kinds of perks. This is what happens when you take the SAT not knowing you are going to graduate a year early. The other colleges didn’t get the memo, so I have another whole year of her getting college letters, brochures, and catalogs. All with her name on it, so that part goes in the shredder pile. Don’t ask me why–I don’t know. It’s what my people do.
Insurance and magazine advertisement junk mail. And credit card applications. Just no. I do not like change much, so no on the insurance and nobody needs another credit card and dear magazines–if I haven’t already contacted you, I’m not gonna. Just letting you know. So these too, the parts with the personal information on it, get shredded.
Catalogs. Oh good gravy. Order something from a company just once because it was a special Christmas request for someone you had no other ideas for and from then on it’s catalog overload. I think I’ve heard that there’s a way to stop the catalogs from coming, but that would require putting it on my to do list and following through. Bigger gators closer to the canoe–and my brain’s been missing for months now, so that’s not likely to happen. I can say I will try if someone tells me how to make it happen. But I make no promises. The inserts with my name and address and the mailing label all go into the shredder too. (Once I had a company calling me about an order that I DID NOT place, so yeah, I must not let my catalogs get into the hands of folks with malicious intent.)
Then with all this unimportant stuff are all the things I need to sort and file and respond to. Bills get paid, but that’s been about it. I’m organizing and filing for our house and three other lives that were, so maybe you can understand how this mountain got out of hand. Understand or no, it is what it is.
A mountain of disorganized mess.
I prepared myself mentally and sat down at the desk. I pulled out my shredder. It was a gift from Mama. She taught me how to be organized and to protect myself. I was so excited to get a shredder, probably more for the novelty than for the safety of it, but I loved my gift. From time to time it gets jammed. Which is why the pile of “to be shredded” was escalating.
I turned it off and worked at the tines until it was ready to go. When I had it whirring, I was on a roll. I created loads of shredded paper and knocked out one mountain and then two. All I have left to handle tomorrow is my “To Deal With” pile. And thank goodness, it is a pile. Not a mountain.
So many thoughts went through my head as all that information was buried in the mound of bits and pieces of numbers and letters, no longer discernible. Mama was proud of the idea of giving me one, and she wanted me to be able to take care of my business carefully and responsibly. She would say it took her years to perfect her system, and perfect it she did. Sister asked to look through Mama’s desk at how it was organized before we started cleaning it out. Mama was just that good at managing a household and so much more. I think she overestimated me and my capabilities. I seriously doubt I will ever have it as together as she did. There will always be a day in the month that my stomach will clench and I will try to focus and remember–I did pay that bill, didn’t I? Did I respond to that e-mail? The answer is most often yes, but that’s how my mind works. Because my system doesn’t.
The other thought that wandered through as I rhythmically fed the papers of all shapes and sizes and textures through the machine was wouldn’t it be nice if everything we needed to clear up could be handled this way. All traces of whatever we’d like to leave behind, feed it into Life’s shredder and let it go. No worries, no residue left behind–that’s a shredder I’d get in line to feed some things through. Nothing left to carry in your heart or mind. Just gone. Swept out of your life with an old broken crayon and a few crumbs from the biscuits at breakfast. Done.
But that’s not how it goes. We have things we’ve done, choices we’ve made, things that have just happened, that have our names indelibly scrawled across them, and somehow we have to make peace with that and move on. There is no Life shredder.
And yet tonight I think I’m okay with that. Sure I’ve made some bad choices. I’ve had things happen that I couldn’t and still don’t understand why they did. But, and I apologize for the cliche’, having my name on those things make them a part of my journey. And without those bits and pieces of the story, I would not be sitting here with sleeping children and the Fella home safe and sound and a snoozing puppy laid out on the floor waiting to be tucked into her little bed. It would all be different. Different good, different bad–not something I can know or even want to know. It just is what it is. And it’s okay. If I were to put all those hard things in Life’s shredder, it is possible that I would only be more broken, much like the paper I handfed through today.
So maybe I wouldn’t get in line for that Life shredder if one ever existed. I think I’ll hold on to the bits and pieces of paper and all those letters and numbers and words and exclamation points and question marks that make me ME. And I’ll definitely hold onto the ellipses…..for some of the best stuff is waiting on the other side of those.
But I am thankful for my Mama who tried to teach me how to take care of business and wanted me to be safe in all kinds of way, including shredding stuff that could make things harder for me if I didn’t. I think she would be proud of me for trying today. Whenever we’d do something we especially did not like, she would say, “Aren’t we feeling sanctimonious?” And you know what, I rather am a bit. Most importantly, I think today I started moving more than a mountain of mail and such…..I think I started moving the mountain of mayhem in my life, including the parts of my story that are harder to be okay with. And that’s something she’d really be proud of. There was never anything I couldn’t share with her, no story she wouldn’t hear. She loved me warts and messy mayhem and mood swings and all. Maybe it’s time I start doing that for myself. Time to move the mountain of maudlin regret and woes and worries. Move it out of my heart and mind and make room for more of the good stuff. I think that would really make her smile.