Friday, November 14, 2014
What Having Kids has Taught Me About Being a Pack Rat...
It wasn't always this way. By nature I'm kind of a pack rat. I feel bad for each and every one of my college roommates who had to put up with my natural affinity towards hoarding. I have a tendency to think that I might need something someday and so I really shouldn't get rid of it. My love of sewing and crafting doesn't help the problem, because when I see an old outdated piece of clothing a dozen different possibilities for what I could make it into zip through my mind, quickly pushing aside the fact that it's unlikely that I'll actually have the time in the next decade or two to make those ideas into a reality.
Having kids has changed all of that.
Mae rarely intentionally breaks something. The most destructive thing I can think of that I've seen her intentionally do is tear a piece of paper when she was frustrated. But unintentionally? Well, it doesn't happen all that often any more, but that's mostly because most of what could be broken has been.
Even items (and large pieces of furniture) that have withstood breaking are dented or ripped and patched or just battered by the constant jumping, spinning and crashing that goes on in our house on a daily basis.
And it has been really, really good for me. The experience has put our belongings and their place in our lives in perspective. It's helped me stand back and realize what we need and what don't... and my main wish these days is that I had a solid week that I could devote to purging our house of all the extra things that get in the way.
A couple of weeks ago as we walked out to the van to do our weekly errands Paul announced that after work the previous night he'd gotten back to our car and found a huge dent running down the back half of the passenger side of the vehicle.
I stopped and shook my head at the sight and then started to laugh and pointed out how grateful I was that we had a van where it doesn't really matter if another dent or scratch or ding is added here or there, because it sort of adds character. Besides, people seem to be less likely to cut you off when your car is ringed with scraps of paint in the wrong color and dents decorating the sides. Our car had quite a lot of "character" when we bought it... but after a couple years parked in parking lots as we've traveled across the country it has even more.
These days when things break, the way they do on an almost daily basis around here, I find myself almost cheerful. That's one more thing that can make its way out to the curb, one less thing to contribute to clutter at the end of the day as I realize that we really need less and less than I ever imagined and that the best toys seem to be had with cardboard boxes that of course, hardly ever survive more than a day inside these four walls.
I usually leave the major yearly purging of everything we don't need for Lent, but this year I think I might make it part of Advent, or even begin a bit ahead of Advent as I try, with the help of the insight given to me by these kids and their clumsy, crashing tendencies, to put things in perspective and cut out things that we don't need, putting aside as much as possible those things that get in the way as we begin to prepare our hearts for the coming Christmas season.