A few years ago, when M and I moved into our house, we rented (and by WE, I mean M) a storage unit for the things we (and by WE, I mean ME) just could not part with, but weren’t sure we had room for. This included an arts and crafts table in case I DID ever get the urge to glue a bunch of tile shards onto plates again, a Mt. Everest sized pile of fake rattan patio furniture, and bins and bins of photos and momentos from the last 40 years of our lives. M was able to pile it all into the storage unit and I was able to rest comfortably knowing these prized possessions were safe in an air conditioned environment not far from my home. Mission accomplished.
It turns out, M and I had different ideas about how to use a storage unit. M’s idea is to rent it for a short amount of time, until I can figure out what to do with the wall of plastic bins filled with my kids drawings from kindergarten. My idea is to keep it as a shrine, a monument to my life as a mother where my kids and their kids after them can come to visit after I’m gone, pay their respects and look through photographs of me at different points of my life, each generation passing the bill down to the next, the goal being me not having to deal with those bins ever again. Ever.
Unfortunately, this weekend, our two different perspectives collided when M brought home roughly 23 bins for me to you know, “just go through and get rid of stuff but keep the things you want.” Okay, these ARE the things I want, hence the saving of them in bins. Am I the only one who gets this concept? But fine, I thought, it will be fun to look at all those hand turkeys and little milk carton log cabins made every year in honor of Lincoln’s birthday.
So, I began and became completely engrossed in my children’s past. I found adorable things including a book made by my youngest daughter entitled “ALL ABOUT MOMMY” What do YOU make of this found on page one?
MY MOMMY LIKES quiet
MY MOMMY DOESN’T LIKE darkness
Uhm…( I kept that out for her next therapy session.)
Anyway I was plowing through having a great time, shedding an occasional tear when I came upon my high school yearbook or what I THOUGHT was my high school yearbook. When I opened it I saw it was my ex’s, easy mistake since we attended the same school. And I began to leaf through it and a note written on the cover page caught my eye and stopped me dead in my tracks…
It’s been nice getting to know you. Best of luck and have a great summer!
OMG, the sheer and utter innocence of those words that I had written after we had flirted with each other in the halls for just those last few weeks before school ended. They took my breath away. Who would have imagined that 30 years after I wrote those words, we would be signing a divorce decree, ending our marriage, though our lives will be ever entwined with the four children we brought into the world together. What young and innocent pleasure we took in each other and Oh what anguish and pain we brought into each other’s lives at the end.
From “have a great summer” to “I do.” From a tiny apartment on Ft. Bragg to a first home with a new baby girl. To the next home bursting at the seams with four children and a 150 pound dog, friends coming and going, parties in the basement that I am only NOW hearing about. From “have a great summer” to, “I’m leaving” and then to the ambushing delivery of papers with KOKO vs. KOKO. emblazoned across the top. From “have a great summer” to The End.
All is well now. My ex and I have healed and are in a good place, watching our children turn into adults. We are proud, they are good people. People I would like even if they weren’t mine. To think it all started in a high school hallway, he leaning against a locker as I walked by in a shirt with a big poodle on it that for some reason caught his eye.
We had a good run, that’s for sure. Now back to the bins and a big number 8 made of cheerios. Yup, that goes into the keep pile. I certainly can’t be expected to part with that now, can I?