Emotional Spills and One Hundred Hangers

Loveys, I got crazy this weekend and wanted to do some spring cleaning. This was brought on, in part, by the Jeffster making not-positive comments about our closet. But regardless, I've known for a while that our closet really needs attention. But spring cleaning is tricky. Things get so much worse before they get better. And you find all kinds of treasures (along with junk), and then your husband finds you on the floor by a pile of shoes, along with a HUGE pile of maybe one hundred hangers, holding a box of stuff, and sniffling because tears are threatening to spill out of your eyes.

I had an emotional moment there in the closet. I found these boxes that were half-good stuff, half-throw-away stuff. The "keep" things were making me cry. A letter from Ashtyn's kindergarten teacher at the end of that school year (oh Lord, I'm welling up again). A journal I'd written three pages in (I'm not much of a journaler) the year Ash was born. A card I'd written to Jeff when our marriage was in a particularly fragile place. Cards I'd written to my Mimi (that she'd saved and have made their way back to me) when I was a child. By the time I'd gone through all those things, and narrowed three boxes into one "keep" box, I was an emotional wreck. For real, spring cleaning is not for the faint of heart. The closet now looks great, the bedroom now looks like a tornado has come through. And all those hangers are about to be thrown away. (Even though the closet looks good, I still feel like there are approximately three shirts hanging up that I actually wear.)

Emotionally and physically, I've been feeling a bit spent lately. It seems like for weeks my family has battled illness. The flu and strep and constant runny noses and coughs and moms and dads who never get enough sleep. It wears you down. I went to celebrate my friend Evan's birthday last night, and was chatting with my sweet friend Krista about how sometimes you feel like you've been cooped up and home so long that applying makeup and going out feels foreign! (And then you're like, This makeup is from 1999 and why don't I have better makeup, and how come with the pile of clothes that I just put on my bed, I still have nothing to wear?)

More emotional spills from a mama who feels like every time she takes her kids to the grocery store, they all come home with the plague.

Really, when we're tired, I think we're more prone to emotional spills. But tired or not, reading letters from Mrs. Raj (Ash's kindergarten teacher) will probably always make me cry. I love how she loved every kid in her class. And glimpses of things like journals and cards take us back to wonderful, difficult, and even bittersweet moments. And we remember that life is a series of all of these things. Sick days and healthy days. Good days and bad days. Busy days and homebound days (which can be busy too, but in my case, mean lots of the Disney Channel and doling out yogurt sticks). It's all of it. Blissful marriage moments and not-so-blissful (or worse) moments. The bittersweetness of Ashtyn graduating kindergarten. Moving on and growing--beautiful and bittersweet. The more I think of it, the more that "bittersweet" seems like a good way to describe so much of life. For my dad, my wedding and Sara's and Laura's came with plenty of emotion. (Have you ever watched Father of the Bride, lovey? I. Can't. Even. describe how emotional I get. Weddings are hard.) I asked my mom once why all the weddings weren't as emotional for her and she said to me, I can't even think of it that way. It's too hard. I have to concentrate on how good it is. I'm gaining a son-in-law. My girls are always my girls. That never changes. My mother is always my mama. It never changes.

I understand, lovey. It's bittersweet times one hundred.

When Lily is sick (as she has been lately) and I hate seeing her miserable, she won't sleep in her room. I'm exhausted and spent, so I just bring her in bed with me. And when she wouldn't sleep in her room, in mine, she curls up next to me and is asleep almost instantly.

Bittersweet. I'll take it. And those cards and letters and keepsakes that are up in my closet, well, I'll keep them forever. (Along with my clothes, it seems like. I'm thinking I need to branch out and go shopping, lovey.)

I'm ready for summer. It seems like a lot of families we know have battled sickness this spring as well, so maybe summer will be better for all of us. I hope.

And hopefully my room will be clean by then. But all I want to do is read and drink coffee and keep my kids away from grocery stores and doctor offices. Jeff snapped this picture above of me this weekend. (I was on a small break from the mountain of hangers in the closet.) It's basically the story of my life. Reading at the table. For as long as I can remember, I've been the kind of person who brought whatever book she was reading to the table. One of my happy places. Especially when there are runny noses and sore throats and messy rooms. Spring has been rough over here. It sometimes is.

But summer will be here before we know it. Trips to the mountains, camping (maybe), fishing, sprinklers, watermelon, lazy days--all good things. I'm ready. The beautiful and hard moments of life together. I'll take them all.  

And if anyone needs hangers, I've got lots.

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