I’ve been pretty busy for a couple weeks- either out of town, or brooding. I went out of town to visit family and ended up in places like this:
as well as places like this:
until I came home and made Amish bread. You can find that post elsewhere on my blog.
After that I finished up some brooding I’ve been working through this summer. This has to do with a series of milestones that happened this year. They are:
1) Our wonderful dog died. Here she is in one picture:
She was very vocal, hard working, and deeply connected to us.
2) I turned a certain age. I did various things to both celebrate and cope, like making myself a momcove. The momcove is the living room alcove turned into my personal space. It looks like this:
Parts of it change to reflect my mood from time to time.
I did other things, too, like hauling large boxes of family photos out of storage and letting everyone just paw through them. They enjoyed asking questions, revisiting memories, and laughing at some really weird poses. There were, for instance, a couple pictures of my kids being slaves. They had watched the Charlton Heston movie Ben Hur one summer and found colorful ribbons to tie their feet and hands so they could pose “in fettered agony” (my daughter’s words).
That was part of the brooding I’ve been going through- a reflecting back and peering forward kind of pendulum emotion.
Then I decided to finally drag down those old boxes of books from the attic. I’d stashed them away a couple boxes at a time as the kids grew up. I figured there were about ten boxes up there, from toddler board books to early readers and great classic kids’ lit. So I crawled up into the attic, not an easy task, and found that something about the size of a squirrel had been living up there. Nobody was home and it looked like they’d been gone for a couple years, but there was a new level of smell up there to add to the dust and heat.
And there were eighteen boxes of books.
One of them exploded as I was hauling it down from the attic and board books went flying. Two more fell apart as I was later organizing the books. These particular boxes were all far too large for storing books in anyway, so they did me a favor by dying.
I should have taken a picture, but honestly, I feel embarrassed that I may have passed into the realm of the hoarder and I didn’t want to provide published evidence.
With my kids helping, I sorted out at least three boxes’ worth to get rid of. It was all we could part with.Then we resorted the remaining according to who wanted which books. Each of us ended up with five boxes each, and of those fifteen, all will go back into the attic until I can unload them on my kids when they are adults.
Fifteen boxes we kept. Fifteen! It seems like a lot to me. Of course, I had initially guessed that there were only ten boxes to begin with, so this all seems a bit much anyway.
I console myself that I am in no way a hoarder, because there is still plenty of room in the attic for more boxes of books.
Not that I want them, to be sure. Oh, I want them. But then again I don’t. Yes I do.
Also in the attic were a rocking horse, rocking chair, a box of handmade baby clothes, other neat stuff.
Any critters that had lived up there don’t seem to have done damage to our possessions…so I couldn’t complain too much.
3) My oldest child is in her last year of high school. She is nearly an adult. Combined with my age milestone, looking through old photos and old children’s books seemed a pretty mild way to work through these feelings. Sometimes I am sentimental, sometimes I am terrified, sometimes I am proud, and sometimes I nearly mourn how quickly time has passed. I’m grateful I often had the strength to tell the schedule to go jump in the lake, because I have many, many precious memories. There is no greater treasure in this world than children. None. Not my books, not the manuscript I’m working on, not the car, not my education, not my antiques, not our investments. Maybe my health. I won’t argue that one. But: kids! Children.
4) My youngest is now officially in middle school. And she’s old enough to start attending what we call Early morning Seminary (a before-school scripture study program for teens). I have no more little kids. I have teens. I will soon have adult children. I’ve already hinted once or twice about the possibility of grandkids. Otherwise, why keep all these books about animals and babies and trains and stuff? That gave the girls pause for thought!
5) I started this blog. 🙂
What did I do before I was a mother? Will that even suffice for whoever I turn out to be when the kids are grown? How much have I changed? Will I ever lose all this extra weight? Should I paint my momcove? Can it really be possible that I’m gravitating towards historical romance movies? Who is that man in my house?
So, having successfully felt my way through a summer of feelings, I feel about ready for another school year. And whatever may come after it.