Everything is everywhere right now as we pack to move out of my parents’ basement. It’s not the triumphant move into a bougie condo or a three bedroom single-family home that we were hoping for, but it is a lateral move to a two bedroom apartment with a dishwasher and a flex space.
Our stuff, as I mentioned, is everywhere. My shirt sleeves are tangled in Hudson’s slinkies. Our silverware is flirting with our stapler and our White Erase markers are jealous. Our memories, new and old, are splayed out across the carpet, crying out. “Save me! Remember me! Categorize me!”
It’s been a little harrowing, sifting through each piece of me and deciding which parts to keep, which parts to discard. I’ve been rating things on the Feeling-Meter—how intensely did this memory make me feel at the time? Only if it was grander than a 8.5 on the emotionally seismic scale, good or bad, does it goes in the Keep Pile. But out of necessity, I’ve bid goodbye to college notes, high school awards, childhood beanie babies. I keep the teaching momentoes and I throw away my lesson plans. I save every single onesie.
It’s been both brutal and reifying. I’ve had to strip so much meaning from meaningful trinkets, so I didn’t think twice about the fact that Maeby’s stuff has gotten shuffled in the melee. Everything on the floor has become fair game for the newly crawling Hudson, who beat a spoon against her porcelain bowl with unprecedented glee. I whipped out my camera to capture the clangor—it was cute!—but then I noticed Maeby, pouting on the couch, amidst all the other stuff I’m trying to de-nude of sentiment.
I’m probably prescribing too much to it, but…It’s her bowl, I realize. It’s personalized, it has her name written in flowers, and I spread peanut butter in it every morning. It has meaning to her and that matters.
I scoop up her bowl, and place it next to her on the couch, out of reach from Hudson’s spoon. “Here, Maebs.” I told her with an ear squeeze. “It’s your bowl.”
They’re just things. They don’t have to represent anything. But sometimes they can. And sometimes they do.
I think I’ll expand my Keep Pile tonight.