This year, I planned to spend Mother’s Day sifting through boxes and bags of miscellany that have been stored in an attic for the better part of a decade. After finally signing a contract for the sale of our old house, we are actually emptying its attic.
We moved several years ago. But since our new home is within a couple of miles of the old house, we weren’t in a big rush to un-store all of our attic stuff. Not that we didn’t fill the attic at our new house. It’s packed as well. That’s why we’ve had to stack the old house attic items neatly in our new house dining room.
And that’s why I spent Mother’s Day sifting through our belongings and deciding what to keep, what to donate, what to recycle and what to discard.
Going through the contents of our old attic was a monumental task. That’s why I absolutely had to do it on Mother’s Day. It’s the only day I didn’t have to cook, taxi kids around or clean the kitchen. As an added bonus, since the old attic wasn’t completely empty, I could send my family over to the old house and have them finish the task. Surely they wouldn’t want me doing any dirty, sweaty lifting and moving on Mother’s Day.
My heart is not made of stone. I didn’t expect my boys to cook this year. I was quite happy they simply ordered pizza. They just weren’t allowed to place the order until the old attic was completely emptied and ready for the new buyers to move in upon closing.
While the boys were busy running up and down the old attic and driving back and forth between the houses, I was hanging out in the comfort of our dining room. All I required to do my sorting were a box of tissues, a strong pot of coffee and some 80s music.
The coffee and music kept me energized and motivated. The tissues were for mopping up the side effects of all the memories and emotions that will pour out of each box and bag I opened.
I unearthed old, handcrafted Mother’s Day cards from the elementary school years, which were immediately displayed across our mantle. That worked out well for my boys, as I didn’t need store-bought greetings this year. Nothing from a card shop could ever compare, so they might as well save their money and use it to help put gas in the cars.
In addition to elementary school memorabilia, I found letters from my now-deceased grandmother, pictures of my children when they were babies and openly adored their mother, baby paraphernalia I’ve been saving for future grandchildren, and so much more. It took all day to pick through the rubble of our past, especially since I was interrupted often by leaking eyes.
With all the tears, there was no need for makeup. But then, it being Mother’s Day, I was perfectly within my rights to not only skip the beauty routine, but also work in my pajamas. But since I didn’t want to get my pajamas dusty and grimy, I wore old jeans and a ratty T-shirt. But pajamas were an option, should I decide to optimize comfort.
Since we are short on attic space now that we have an even bigger attic, not much of the old attic stuff could be assigned to attic storage. My challenge was to place much of our past in donation or recycle piles. As a self-motivation tactic, I planned to load up the car this week, drop off all our donations, and then take myself out for a nice lunch.
My two smallest piles, of course, were the trash and the storage piles. Best-case scenario would be to have nothing in the storage pile. But considering grandchildren are not imminent, I had to put a few things in a box to be squeezed into the new attic.
I actually could rationalize putting a few things in our new attic. There will be some space freed up in our new attic when our son moves into his first apartment in August. While the move itself will be another one of those tissue situations, at least it will give us an excuse to unload some of our junk on our child.
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Micki Bare is a columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau and the Courier-Tribune in Asheboro, N.C., and the author of Thurston T. Turtle children’s books. She and her family live in North Carolina. Her e-mail address is mickibaregmail.com.