When I was a kid and we were living in Germany, there was a nursery where my parents would take us if they wanted to go out. Not a nursery where you grow and sell plants. A child’s nursery. Like a daycare center but I only remember going at night. Although my mom argues that we only paid an overnight visit a couple of times, my brain tells me it was more.
I hated the nursery. The sight and sound of this thing still throws me into flashback hell, with it’s creepy little tick tock song:
Nothing bad ever happened to me there. In fact the women who worked there were terrific. I was just like a dog going to the vet. Planting my feet firmly in the ground, not wanting to go in. There was no real reason for my fear.
There was nap time at this place. We would take these naps in a little room with cots. Once during nap time, I occupied myself by tying the shoes together of the little boy in the next cot over. Genius. When he got up, he fell. The nursery lady on duty asked who did it. I kept my mouth shut as I pointed right at him. The boy didn’t even try to defend himself.
The nursery is where I acquired my pretty chin scar. It was a late rainy night when the folks picked us up. On the way to the car, I fell on my face and ripped open my chin. I can still remember the blood soaked towels I had to hold to my face on my way to the hospital. An added bonus was the big light glaring in my face in the ER as I laid (or is it lain?) on a gurney as the on-call doctor did a “butterfly” number on me. I hated that doctor.
It’s called Karma. For doing the shoelace thing. And it’s a pretty little reminder of my evil side. My alter ego. She’s fun. Be careful or I’ll ask her to come out to play. Are you scared? You should be. Just don’t turn your head when you are wearing strings.
I have saved enough of the kids’ art and school work to paper every wall and ceiling in our house, with enough left over for the neighbor. I have a large Rubbermaid bin for every single year from pre-school through 5th grade. Why only through 5th grade? I’ll get to that.
I just have to preface what I am about to say with this: I absolutely adore her stick figure people with a head, arms and legs. Even if they don’t have a body. I love them even more in spite of it. And her elephant with the trunk coming out of its eye. Priceless. I will cherish them forever.
I was completely obsessed about making sure her homework, teachers notes, report cards and art was filed away in the correct bin. Everything. If something wasn’t dated, I would break out in a major sweat and have to down a fifth of scotch to calm my nerves.
But all that changed a few years ago when my mother gave me a small cardboard box. What it contained was some artwork and odds and ends from my childhood. She was smart enough to pick and choose the best of my work and toss the rest. If she had showed up on my doorstep with 15 plastic bins, I would have had her arrested for trespassing.
That is why the kid’s middle school bin is light. Bin. Singular. Because when DH and I go into retirement and move to some little place down south or travel the world, where will I house it all? I won’t. I’ll most likely give it to her as my mother gave mine to me. At the rate I was going, I would have had to rent a U-Haul to get it all to her house. I’m sure that would go over as well as a monk farting in church.
So, if you are going to take my advice and downsize, hear this: while tossing some of your children’s artwork, make sure you remove it from the house. Like into the next town. While she/he is away at summer camp. Because I got caught. She melted down so badly I needed a mop. Then she claimed I didn’t love her any more. Trying to do damage control with an 8 year old is not fun. And the disposed artwork? You will find it in bin #6. Dial 1-800-UHAUL for a good time.