There’s an island in our kitchen where papers go to die. I think you’re supposed to use this kind of table/rack for kitchen things, but that’s not what happens at our house. It’s a dumping ground. A few days ago I decided to attack it. Not because of any great desire to be a better person, but because I went to toss something else on the pile and caused a landslide.
I set Sally up with watercolor paints (her current favorite form of artistic expression) and she got busy painting the Earth while I dove into the cause of much of Earth’s troubles: Junk.
My archaeological dig was going really well. I was efficient, tossing item after item. I mean really, if I haven’t touched it since 2007, I don’t need it. Old bank statements, grocery lists, crockpot cookbooks, takeout menus, hey a miniature Halloween snow globe! . . . Look at me, busy little bee. And then:
“Mommy? Why are you frowing away my art projects?”
Saucer-sized eyes filled with confusion look at me. I want to say “because, sweetie, you make thousands of ‘projects’ and I keep a ton of them. I love you but let’s face it, you’re not exactly Picasso.” But I don’t say that. Because she has made me feel like the suckiest mother in the world! I’ve been punched in the gut. I’ve hurt my child’s ego. So I turn on my oscar-worthy acting skills and look, surprised, at the trash can. “Oh my goodness! I had no idea. Sally, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to throw these important projects away. I meant to set them aside for your baby book. You know Mommy loves all your pictures.”
I dust them off and gingerly set them on the counter. And then a few hours later I trash them, taking care to wedge them under some empty food wrappers. I suck.