The Clean-Up

The Christmas tree seems a bit lackluster now, yet it shines as bright as it did before. Beneath the tree is barren and next to it like a dutiful soldier a garbage bag stands erect holding all the ripped wrapping and discarded tissue paper. It was a full day. Everyone is in there respective places and I am exhausted. Christmas was good.


The last dish of New Year’s Day is finally put away and I sit in my easy chair. Everyone has gone to bed. Television is off and the soft, saturating quiet wraps around me like a warm, downy blanket. A melancholy feeling envelopes my heart and I wipe away a tear. Happy my family was together, sad that it is over. My heart is full that everything had looked so beautiful, that all my hard work paid off, Yet really unhappy about the clean-up.

When I was a young Mom, My tree went up the day after Thanksgiving and came down on January 2. No ifs, ands, or buts. Yet, as I am becoming wiser and my joints are not moving as they well as they should, That timetable is an unimaginable fallacy. I was much later putting up decorations this year and I will be later taking them down. Mind you I plan to have them down before February, just in case you were wondering. The problem seems to be for myself anyway, that although I love decorating I have begun to nurture a keen desire for more simplicity. Less Clutter, Less storage, etc.

I am not really sure when this happened. Although there have been what I would call spurts of it when the kids were growing up. I’d go on a massive cleaning spree and throw out a ton of stuff. It would be either donated to a charity or we would have a yard sale. I still donate to charity and will continue, but I think I am too matured to try holding a yard sale on my own anymore.

Life starts seeming shorter as you get along in years. Spiritual growth and love of other people become more important than gathering items. Dealing with stuff emerges as a frustration that can be eliminated. Not necessarily easily but eliminated just the same. My focus for this New Year is to begin to slowly eliminate the clutter. And I am going, to begin with, my Christmas Decorations. When I open them next year, they will bring me joy instead of irritation.

The small snow village went dark with one pull of the extension cord. All those little people and animals frozen in a moment in time will remain in a small box marked people. Each landmark individually wrapped and put away for safe keeping along with the large rollout snow. Anything else is going away.

This will be a process. The cleaning and organizing of this conglomeration of Christmas. Our Mess. Okay, truth told, it’s my mess. At least it is now. My responsibility. So, I make a promise to myself. I will handle this as I see fit. I will do it in such a way that keeps my frustration level down. Should I become overwhelmed I will stop and do something else. Even this is not worth giving up my sanity.

To all of the people who are responsible for the cleaning and the sorting and the organizing for your household, God Speed. Maybe work does not come naturally for you, or maybe it is natural but not as easy, YOU HANDLE IT, not at the satisfaction of others, but at the proper speed necessary for you. So much of my adult life has been spent trying to gain the approval of my husband, my kids, my folks, my boss, my pastor, and my church members until it was exhausting! There were times I didn’t even know how I felt about something as long as others were okay with it.

It is my personal opinion that even though we should strive to make others happy, there is nothing at all wrong with being happy ourselves. In fact, it is an intricate part of survival in the mom life. We Moms spend so much time being caregivers that we often forget about us. And we need to care for us as well. No one really understands like Mom the meaning of the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” The family unit will suffer each and every time when mom is not feeling content.

Yes, we must clean up. And it needs to begin within us. We need to decide that we will choose to make better decisions and to make them with our own thoughts and feelings in mind. All the rest will come easier once we start in the right place. So, Happy Clean-Up Season! Make it a Great one!

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