*I have not been blogging lately because I am taking a writing class and I've had too much homework! But this is something I wrote for class this week that would fit here on the blog, so here it is.
I like the idea of getting organized. The idea of everything having a place and every place having a label and every label having letters drawn with precision and love and clean, neat, bold lines and loops that say clearly and exactly, “You’re looking for the wood glue? Here it is. Right here in this box, labeled with deep, dark, rich letters:
When the baby clothes started to pile and bunch in the drawers, I bought a label maker with my 40% off Michael’s coupon. I bought stacks of Rubbermaid bins from Target and I spent the afternoon happily folding piles and organizing them in bins by size:
I stood back and smiled at the closet when I was finished. Everything had a place, everything was stacked and labeled, and when I needed to find them again for the next child, I would know just exactly where to find everything.
And when the next child came and it was another boy, Charlie, I opened up that closet and happily pulled out the clothes I would need and washed them and folded them neatly in the nursery drawers, stacks and stacks of beautiful, soft-cotton, slightly-stained onesies ready to reuse. Clothes in the drawers. Money in the bank.
And then Charlie grew up. Faster and bigger and different than his brother before him. The onesies were too short, but the pants were too long and so I started rooting through the other bins, skipping ahead for some things, furiously flipping around for what might fit, what might work. And things began to pile and bunch again. And when I took a minute to try and organize them once again, I couldn’t find the label maker. I had never found a place for it, never made a label for it. It didn’t seem to belong with anything else and so it just got put on a shelf and then on another shelf and then it got put…somewhere.
So, I pulled out some masking tape and a Sharpie and I labeled by hand, but the letters were no longer clean and neat. There weren’t bold lines and strong loops. Precision was gone. It was a scrawl, hardly recognized as language by anyone but the creator of these haphazard letters. And now it simply said:
And then we moved and things got stuffed places and packed under and around and back behind other things. Old VHS tapes with treasured movies recorded off the TV—A Few Good Men, Dirty Dancing, Sommersby—Halloween costumes, empty picture frames that would someday look good with pictures in them, Easter baskets, finger-paints, scraps of fabric that might someday look nice pieced together somewhere.
And then the babies grew some more and everything was stacked and sort of buried and the labels weren’t so sticky anymore and some of them began to curl and fall off and stick to other things.
And the 0-6 month bin was stuffed full, but there was some room in the 9-12 month bin and here were some baby socks and hats and here was a 0-3 month sweater and well, it fit in a bin that was label-less but had room so I slid it in under the lid of the wrong bin and I walked out of the closet and shut the door behind me.
And a few months later when Charlie was too old for the rattles and dangly car seat lovies and the plastic hammer and nails that sang songs when you bopped ‘em, I found a bin that was half full of baby bottles and a few burp clothes and bibs and even a 6-12 month sweatshirt and I stuffed in the outgrown toys and I scrawled:
I like the idea of having another baby. One more person to snuggle up to, one more story to unfold, one more character in the story of our family, of our life.
And this character I think would be a free spirit, someone who wouldn't mind wearing a 3-6 month onesie with a baggie 9-12 month pant. Someone who would not be opposed to wearing a pumpkin costume to Christmas Mass or collecting Halloween candy in his Easter basket. Someone who wouldn't give a shit about being organized because all he wants to do is traipse off into the woods with a backpack he found in the old storage closet and a sandwich of leftovers he flopped together from the cheese drawer of the refrigerator where he also found a bag of old carrots and an unexpired yogurt cup.
This third child, I think, would get less and need less because he’d quickly learn that although we like the idea of everything being neatly in its place, in our house, things are frequently missing.
But he won’t care because all he wants to do is hike deep into the woods and find an old stump to sit on while he eats his sandwich.
And I imagine him that day as he sits on the stump, soaking in the delicate scents, sounds and sights of the woods. He’ll sit there breathing in the crisp, tree air, he’ll marvel at the canopy of yellow around him, and he’ll close his eyes for a moment in prayer to God that all this was created for him to escape to. And he’ll sit there in his hand-me-down pants with the patch over the knee that his mom had sewn from some old scrap of fabric she found buried somewhere and his hungry fingers will reach back into his bag to scoop out his yogurt, when he’ll stumble upon some gray, blue, hard plastic thing buried deep at the bottom. And he’ll wonder as he retrieves it what the heck it is and why it’s covered with letters and numbers and a screen like a calculator. And he’ll wonder what the heck it’s doing in this old backpack he found in the closet. And when he turns it on and presses PRINT, and listens to eeking, creaking sound it makes that shatters the quiet of his woods, he’ll wonder one more time why there is a sticker that comes out the side and why that sticker says nothing but: