I know why people become those crazy, out of control hoarders.
It's because they have children.
Yesterday I ventured into the rafters above the garage in search of a t-shirt the lil' dude wore last fall for an event later this week. Picture the scene in Christmas Vacation where Clark is rifling through junk in his attic, and that was me for awhile yesterday. I have saved every single thing my nearly-three daughter has ever owned. I'll remind you she is an only child, and only grandchild. Her Godfather manages a shoe store, and her Fairy Godmother can't show up without something in hand. Imagine what our rafters look like.
Out in the open is her tiny bathtub, a Bumbo seat, booster seat, highchair, infant car seat, two bases, a swing, an exersaucer, a bouncy seat, a stroller, and a vintage school desk I haven't restored for her yet. What's more vast are the rainbow colored Rubbermaid totes and bins bearing all the rest of her stuff. After the first 6 or 8 totes, I got smarter about my cataloguing. I started labeling the tops with a Sharpie: 3-month onesies. Bird costume. Receiving blankets. Pacifiers. Bottles. Swimsuits. Crocs. Board books. Boston Red Sox hoodie. Jungle gym. Boppy pillow. Her first Columbia snowsuit. All her mini-Uggs. 9-month onesies. Her first Easter, birthday, and Christmas dresses. All her first bibs Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and birthday. Her first rubber duckies and foam bathtub insert. Burp rags, first jeans from Auntie H., Carhartt bib overalls from JW's daddy, tiny blue lifejacket, and handmade baby gifts from co-workers.
This is why people hoard.
How on earth am I ever going to downsize all of her stuff? How can I ever part with any of the tiny items that still smell like Dreft all these months, (and years) later?
How am I ever going to explain to her when she turns 18 that I have seven storage units full of Rubbermaid bearing her name and my memories?
It's tied to the same, insane mechanism in my brain that made it hard for me to part with my old cellphone, the pink Razr I had right next to me when I delivered her. It's the phone I used to text out her name for the first time, and to snap pictures of her chubby cheeks to show her village. It's the phone I bawled into when I talked to my own Mama when I was still pregnant and she was Never Coming Out a week (or so!) beyond November 27.
I know all of these things are just that: things. Material things that people aren't supposed to be so consumed with. Everything that should and does matter is already housed deep inside of me where it belongs. Her first steps, words, and falls. Her first laugh, black eye, and flu. It's all in here, wrapped up in the biggest, pinkest bow and bubble wrap where I'll keep it safe forever.
The countdown to her third birthday is on, and December 7 is very quickly approaching. I am well aware of that.
Could you tell?