In today’s bigger-is-better mindset, who moves to a home that’s smaller by choice? We do. Call us crazy, but contrary to my innermost desires, our next house is smaller than our first pre-twins house! Mind you, the woman within me really wants an office, a play room, and a room just for scrapbooking. Did I get all of that with the house we just chose? Did I get ANY of that? No. Nada. Zippo. Zilch.
Instead, I got a single bedroom for each of us, one living room, one dining room, a tiny little kitchen, a garage and one incredible backyard view.
What was I thinking? Clearly, I have lost my mind. There’s no room for entertaining, no room for hundreds of teenage kids to come over (in 10 years) because our house will be the one where the kids can hang out, be safe, be loved, and have fun. No room for the office space I need to run two businesses efficiently, and not even room on the counter for all of my fabulous countertop appliances. I wasn’t thinking about all that. What I was thinking was we could play outside instead of in a playroom, ride our bikes around the neighborhood, make new friends to play with like I had growing up (uhh, with one bedroom, one living room, one kitchen, and one dining room and I turned out just fine… oh wait…) and give the things we don’t use away to people who will. And that the rest will work itself out.
As I look around all of the “things” in our home right now, I see a ton of stuff. Most of it we don’t use but every once in awhile. Very few of our things are things we need… They’re just things we “have”. Like knickknacks and mementos of past trips, things I’m reluctant to get rid of for this reason or that and honestly… Just stuff.
I talked to a professional home organizer. She said: “Ask the kids which 10 toys they want to take. Take those, and get rid of the rest.” The kids are totally down with that, in fact, they already made their pile of 10 things. But as I look around at everything that’s left, and what didn’t make the cut, I realize the one wanting them to keep all this stuff is me.
Like their pretend food sets – after all, if we give it away, who will serve me plastic chips and grapes with pretend tea? Who will say “Oh no sir, I only like one lump of sugar, thank you”? Who will then trade places with the kids as I am their servant and they are now the prince and princess? I see princess dresses two sizes too small in the giveaway pile, glass slippers and magic wands and plastic swords and cowboy outfits and even broken things, that I don’t want to part with because parting with that toy means parting with that age and that time and that memory.
I should have chosen a larger home, one where we can move ALL of our stuff, and our ages, and our years and our memories and our toys and I can keep the kids little forever and ever. One where I can have an entire room playing Baby First TV 24/7 just in case they want to catch a stray episode of Squeak, or Oswald, or Babar before they pack up for college …Right?
But I guess I have to wake up from that dream and remember that tomorrow’s memory from today is the one where we biked around the neighborhood or jumped on the trampoline or swung on the porch swing every night for an entire summer, skipping stones and reading stories of Ramona and Beezus together by sunset.
I’m not ready. The very thought of leaving toddlerhood behind evokes some crazy physical phenomenon that makes my eyes water and my throat get tight, and I have to look away and think about something boring and horrible. Like the mountain of laundry waiting for me when I get home tonight.
Yet as much as I hate to leave yesterday behind, it will always be yesterday.
None of us can stop time or keep our family exactly the way they are right now. They grow. We grow. Hopefully together.
Staying so focused on the past will mean we miss out on all of their wonderfulness right now. So goodbye sweet magic wand, good night Mr. Potato Head, and fare thee well bathtub toy slide. Give my love to Dora when you see her on the other side. Ramona is waiting, and I don’t want to miss that.