Monday, June 29, 2009
Breaking my Vow
It's a rainy summer evening. I am caught up with work for now. I really can't find an excuse not to. So wish me luck readers, I am about to enter the "cave". The one room in the house I try to avoid. It used to be a lovely place, all Beatrix Potter and mosquito netting. From there it went to shades of lavender and apple green with ticking stripes and a cottage feel. For many years, I kept it pretty and tidy and then one day a couple of years ago - I gave up. Just like that - I said "No bloody more". I am talking about my teenage daughter's bedroom. Surely some of you can relate. I can barely stand the sight of it most days. I still change the bedding and deliver the clean laundry, but other than that, I let her have her way with it. I am quite certain my child is the most disorganized messy person in the world. As she was ten minutes away from departing for camp yesterday, she asked me, "Mom, have you seen that funny hat I bought at Hot Topic? I wanted to bring it to camp with me." "No, honey, I have not seen it - but you might want to try the avalanche of clothing piled on your closet floor," I replied. She knew for weeks she was leaving yesterday and the hat had been specially purchased just for camp. They do a "funny hat" thing each year and she had found the perfect cap for the event. It was all I could do not to really have a verbal go at her. I just suggested a few other places she might look. "Have you looked through all your drawers? What about under the bed?" Now she was getting frantic. The car was packed. Dad was sitting in the driver's seat. "Don't worry - I packed a sun hat for you," I told her. "But that hat isn't funny mom, it's dorky." "Well, you don't have any choices now at this late date. C'mon let's go - dad's waiting." This is not the first time she has been unable to locate things in her room. It is a regular routine around here. I thought if I just let her live like a slob, eventually she would realize it would work against her, but it hasn't changed her messy habits one bit. I practically have an anxiety attack every time I step foot in there. It really disrupts my chi. I have told her if she continues into adulthood living this way, I will not come and visit her at her house. People say they change once they have a place of their own, but I am not hopeful. I have heard some never do. I am not a neat freak myself, although I do make sure the house is looking good if I am entertaining. I am a piler. Neat piles. Everywhere. Especially my office. I am not even one of those anal organizers, although I envy their discipline. I do feel better however, when my surroundings are tidy and clean and there are fresh flowers on the table. I am very visual. She has obviously not inherited even one ounce of my eye for detail. Maybe she is the lucky one. She never concerns herself with the mess around her and focuses on the task at hand, oblivious to the surrounding chaos. I have trouble focusing on the task at hand when I am surrounded by a mess. Once things are as they should be, I can relax and enjoy whatever I am doing. Someone once said to me "Oh, you'll miss her messes when she's gone one day." "No, actually, I won't miss her messes at all - I might miss her, but I'll say good riddance to the disaster zone she calls her bedroom," I insisted. So tonight, I am breaking my vow to ignore the "cave" and I am about to venture in there, garbage bags and gas mask in tow, and start pitching. Tomorrow I will tote two years worth of out grown clothing, used books and various and sundry items to The Goodwill. They can figure out what to do with it all. I will be ruthless and unsentimental. I will tell myself she won't even miss what I am about to pitch out. She will return from camp to a serene and clutter free environment. While she is gone, I will sit and admire my work. I'll leave the door open for all the world to see. I will let the fresh air permeate the fresh bedding and I'll be able to see the floor for the first time in ages. She won't recognize the place when she gets home. The new minimalist surfaces will beg to remain uncluttered. Twenty four hours after her return, I'll close the door again. How much do you want to bet?