When It Goes, They Will Go, Too

For the past few days, I’ve been roaming around the house seeing the clutter. The piles. The mess. The extra.  

The stuff we should have discarded, or donated, or packed up years ago. The too small clothes that are hanging in the closets. The toys that have collected dust because they haven’t been touched in who knows how long. The books that haven’t been read. The games that are no longer played. The shoes that stopped holding their feet long ago.  

In every room. Every closet. There is something that needs to be tended to. 

But it’s hard to make time, isn’t it? As much as we want the Pinterest-worthy home with the Pinterest-worthy closets and the organized spaces with the pretty baskets and decked out shelves, that isn’t always life is it?  

Life sometimes looks like heaps and piles that we can’t quite get to because other things have taken priority.  

Life sometimes looks like endless laundry in endless cycles and dishes stacked in the sink waiting for their turn in the dishwasher.  

Life sometimes looks like a garage filled with bins we need to go through, but for the meantime will just stay put.  

Life sometimes looks like running out the door to get to the game on time while stacks of papers and half-drunk cups of water and bags of chips surrounded by small crumbs remain on the kitchen island. 

Because in this time. In this space. In this moment I find myself in. There are other things that have taken priority.  

And that’s okay.  

The other day, when I was having one of these anxious moments, as I looked at all the stuff in my daughter’s room, something hit me so hard, it could have knocked me back onto her bed.  

Two years.  

That’s how long I have with this stuff.  

That’s how long until she will start packing boxes to cart off with her to whatever college she attends.  

That’s how long until the pictures and the posters she has tacked up on her wall will come down.  

That’s how long until the closet filled with the clothes she wears down the stairs each morning, groggy-eyed, as she prepares for another day at school, will be emptied.  

That’s how long.  

Then two years after that, another will go. And then another. And then another.  

And so much of this stuff will go with them.  

But even more than that. What will go with them. What I will miss. What I will long for is their daily presence. The good mornings. The good nights. The hugs. The kisses. The meals shared. The routine. The mundane. The time spent in our home. Together.  

When they pack their stuff to do what they must do. To find their own way in their own place and their own space – their daily presence will leave the home, too.  

So, I’m not going to worry so much about the stuff anymore. Not when we are inching so close to the time for them to go.  

It will sort itself out. It will eventually be rummaged through and packed up.  

It eventually will go.  

For now, I will focus on what is here, with me, under this roof. Because I know without a shadow of a doubt these next two years will pass by quickly. And all the two more years after that until we watch our baby walk out the door.  

The clutter and the piles and the closets with the too small clothes and the rooms with the toys that are untouched almost got the better of me this week.  

But not anymore.  

I’m making peace with the clutter.  

Because it’s a reminder of what’s here and the time we have. And that someday in the not so distant future, the stuff will go.  

And when it does, they will go with it. 

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