I am my mother’s daughter.
I hear her voice come out of my mouth quite often as a mother myself.
I have accepted this.
But although I inherited many, many of her characteristics, there are some that did not get passed down.
We spent last week, Spring Break, at my parents’ lake house. It’s a fun place to go with the kids, and it’s free.
It is also stress-free. Stress-free because I could literally load the family into the car and drive there on a moment’s notice, not packing ANYTHING and be perfectly fine. It’s nice to have a change of undies, but there’s a washing machine and dryer, so it’s not a total necessity.
Why do I not need to pack anything? Because my mother has everything you could possibly ever need in that small two bedroom lakehouse. Everything. Everything you could possibly ever need.
As I was there last week, with just my small family instead of the full-family-Christmas-craziness, I had time to pontificate. As I opened cabinet, after cabinet, after closet, after nook, after cranny of stuff, I realized something.
I came by my gathering tendency honestly.
I have fully inherited the mindset that it is necessary to have everything you could ever possibly need at your fingertips. Even if the possibility is remote. Even if you’re not in your primary residence.
However, I did not inherit one very important complementary characteristic. Look at the following pictures and see if you can figure out what that characteristic is.
The ability to organize it.
My mother is a master at things like packing a pile of luggage bigger than a Suburban into the tiny Chevrolet Nova from my college days.
She loves gadgets and dividers and such, and she views something others would call “junk” with a creative eye, and sees that it is full of possibilities. And generally, she fulfills the possibilities.
She stores it neatly with labels and such, and can find most anything at a moment’s notice.
If a grandchild expresses an interest in needlepoint, she can immediately find a wooden-circle-thingy and a piece of fabric and an oversized needle and some embroidery thread to help them get started. And sure, they can take it home . . . because she has plenty more and she knows exactly where they are in case another grandchild wants to give it a try.
If the grandsons are getting a little rough with their football game . . . never fear, she can rig up some fabric scraps and a do-lolly to attach it and teach them to play flag football.
I have some of that in me. I love to solve problems. I love to come up with creative solutions.
I also, as evidenced by the incredible volume of “stuff” in my house, see great possibilities in “junk” and want to save it for just the right occasion.
But I didn’t inherit the “organize it” gene. All my great possibilities end up in a pile on top of a dresser or in the bottom of a closet.
When the need arises, I have a vague memory of having something like that, but no idea where it is. And then I just become frustrated with myself.
Part of this “coming clean” process is realizing that it is possible for me to be a creative, fun mother who helps my kids be creative and imaginative . . . . without keeping all of the stuff.
I can’t handle all of the stuff. And all of the stuff ends up discouraging me, and ultimately making me less creative. I have learned that I would rather have a cleared table on which to paint with 5 colors of paint, than 60 colors of paint that never get used at all because I can’t find a space where I can use them.
And just so you know, my mother is one of the three “real” people who know about this blog, and I told her I was going to be blogging about this subject. She is wonderfully encouraging and understanding, and gave me permission to “psycho-analyze” her.