from piles to files

My mom has a story she likes to tell that she feels demonstrates the difference between Kali and me when we were younger. 

It begins with her getting us ready for school. Mom always braided both of our heads in her infamous french braid. These braids were so tightly woven that I'm certain some days I saw spots. Kali's golden hair, and my deep brown locks, were safe from anything below 80 mph winds. 

And then we always put on our outfits that Mom had laid out for us, making sure we neatly tucked in tails and bloused things that needed blousing. Mom likes us to look neat and well put together. 

And so the story goes that after getting ready one day for Kindergarten, Mom sent Kali off on her merry way to school. Before mom was even ready to sit down for lunch, Kali was on the phone calling home and informing her, rather frantically, that she had a run in her tights. Mom assured her that everything would be okay, that she could just wear them until the end of the day, but Kali insisted that everything would NOT be okay, that she could NOT wear them until the end of the day, and that life as she knew it was a DISASTER if the run in her tights was not remedy. 

And so Mom made a special trip up to the school, a different pair of tights in tow, and fixed Kali up. All was right with the world again.

Fast forward two years. After getting ready one day for Kindergarten, Mom sent me off on my merry way to school. At 3:30 the bus pulled up to our driveway, and I tumbled out: My braid was nearly out, my hair frizzed everywhere, I had runs up BOTH legs in my tights, my shirt was completely untucked, and I was dragging my backpack behind me on the ground. 

And so it was. I was usually slightly bedraggled. I usually didn't have it quite put together. And I usually left a mess in my wake. 

My room was covered in piles of clothes, piles of books and magazines, and papers and posters and pictures and games and last year's halloween candy, and glitter, and streamers, and CDs, and shoes, school binders, and paint, and blankets, and stuffed animals, and wrappers, and…. My room was covered. I never really knew where I had put jeans, because my drawers had no order to them. I could be deep into reading a book one night and the next night I couldn't even locate it. I remember once finding a huge jawbreaker that I had started and thought I'd come back to it-- I hadn't. 

In my defense, I didn't have a closet. I had a tiny, tiny room and I quickly outgrew it. But when we moved my sophomore year of high school the piles seemed to move with me. Even though I gained a closet, clothes still struggled to find their place in it. 

In college my roommate, Renae, would eventually say, "Kels, how many clothes are you sleeping with tonight?!" I remember counting one time and had over 12 articles of clothing with me in my tiny twin bed. 

You see, the girl that didn't care that there were holes and runs in her tights in kindergarten grew into a teenager and young lady who didn't care if things had a place. 

And then I don't know what happened. My senior year of college something shifted in my brain. When my three roommates were gone I would organize and clean our closets, vacuum, and even take down the shower curtain and bleach and scrub the mildew off. The girl who used to sleep with her clothes created and labeled tubs to keep things in their place. 

I started student teaching in the spring, and this cemented my new found hobby of organization. I fell in love with sticky notes and agendas and plastic tubs and file folders. When Brent and I got married I thoroughly enjoyed finding a place for everything, and then found that I even enjoyed cleaning and keeping everything in its place. 

In my classroom my students often referred to me as anal. I hated it the desks where moved even an inch. I hated if there was a scrap of paper on the floor or if a book was laid horizontally on the shelf when it was supposed to be vertical. I wouldn't leave school if my desk wasn't clean. Every week I would lysol my desks, and have my students lysol theirs. 

In my home I rearrange and rearrange until I find the best possible place for something. And then I figure out the best organizational tool that will help me keep it in its place. Granted, there are some spots that still need my attention, but eventually I will get to them and I will enjoy the process when I do. As Blythe has outgrown sizes, I have enjoyed labeling and folding and finding the best way to pack  everything as airtight as possible. I recently cleaned out a hutch in my dining room and created craft bins and envision the day when Blythe and I can use the neatly labeled markers, crayons, paints, buttons, and glue. 

My mom has often said, "What happened to you?!" And I don't know. I truly don't know. But I do know that every once in awhile the girl with the frizzy braid, dragging her backpack returns and I just live in a mess…at least for a day until it starts to bother me. 


Kali said...

It's all true. And I still look around your tidy, organized home in amazement. Can you please come help me, now?

Barb said...

Oh my gosh! You became a Schoon!