I have a list of projects, big and small, that I’m working towards completing by the end of the summer. It’s a list I’m struggling with because of the beautiful weather this time of year. The last thing I’ve felt like doing is sorting through old baby clothes to decide what to sell, what to donate and what to hang onto for memory’s sake. But every room is overflowing with Stuff. Every drawer is a “junk” drawer. I never know where anything is. I’m worried about drop in visitors who will let my “hoarding” secret out.
But last week I decided as August rapidly approached, that I needed to forge ahead and at least cross ONE small project off the fateful list. And I did. I cleared out a cupboard with three shelves in my kitchen. It’s one of those cabinets that you open and you immediately put one hand in front of your face and one above of your head for fear that something will come tumbling out on top of you. (That DOES happen to you, right?)
I pulled out a large garbage bag and started tossing. Too many times I remove items from closets, shelves, and cabinets and restore my love for them. Old cards. Earmarked magazines. Burp Cloths. Things I have no use for. Had forgotten they were even there. But just can’t part with. Four hours after starting my project, I find myself sitting in the middle of a circle of memories. Unable to throw them out or even pack them away. But this time, I was on a mission to RID my shelves of all things unnecessary. Plastic thumb protector to get Hannah to stop sucking her thumb? Gone. Left over paper napkins from Luke’s first birthday party? In the trash. 2001 Yellow Pages from NYC? See Ya. Breast pump bottles? Ba Bye. Trophy from 2002 where I won first place in a 5k run at a work conference? Now sitting in the center of my kitchen counter after holding it and smiling with pride as I remembered that day.
I couldn’t throw it away. This 12 inch gold covered plastic trophy from almost 10 years ago. Why? Well, because it was the first, and last, time I ever won a trophy. And a trophy is a Big Ass Deal. And there aren’t many chances at my age and stage of life to win trophies. Although I strongly believe for all we moms do, we should be awarded trophies more often. Because getting less than 4 hours of sleep for weeks on end is much more trying and says more for our endurance than a measly 3.2 mile race (or whatever a 5k is).
I’m sitting here now looking at my trophy. And I’m still wondering why I can’t throw it out. I won’t be displaying it on my mantel. I’d never pull it out to show guests as I take them around the house. Hannah saw it yesterday and asked me what it is and why I got it and when I told her I won it running in a race she said, “you run?”. So obviously, it’s not a passion of mine by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t foresee myself nostalgically holding it in my hands 40 years from now.
But I don’t want to part with it.
Because this little cheapo looking gold statue symbolizes doing something Really Well. Winning. Getting noticed. Feeling proud.
And times like these don’t roll around that often these days. I feel proud daily of my kids. I’m thrilled when THEY do something well, get noticed or win. But me? I don’t expect to be applauded… it’s not really my time to shine.
And I’m ok with that. But for some reason, I guess I’m trying to hold onto the days when it WAS about me. When I was the winner. The one deserving (or hoping to deserve) the medals and trophies.
I often write about the fact that as stay-at-home moms we don’t get work reviews, or raises, accolades for good work, business won, or profits gained. We aren’t praised in front of co-workers or given a larger office for a promotion earned. We just do what our guts tell us to do and know in our own heads that with each milestone our kids reach, we’ve done well. And we’re ok with no one ever patting us on the back for it because it’s what we’re supposed to do. It’s what we Need to do. And when our child goes 10 days peeing on the potty and not on the floor or in their bed, we smile to ourselves because, shit, WE taught them to do that! Or when our child finally strings two words together in a way that Makes Sense, we think, they wouldn’t have done that without ME.
But a trophy? Wouldn’t that be nice these days? Wouldn’t it make our achievements that much more Real? Wouldn’t you line those trophies up in a row in your kitchen, on your fireplace mantel or surrounded by glass cases for all to see if trophies were even made for such ridiculous accomplishments like potty training, sleeping through the night, riding a bike, and drinking from a lid-less cup?
Or is it just me that thrives on tangible awards? Am I the only one who hung up Business School report cards on the fridge? Who told my husband about the first “Beautiful Blogger” award I received?
I don’t know what it says about me. I’m not going to put much more thought into it. Maybe I don’t want to admit how insecure I must be to be in such need of praise. But I do know, I’m keeping that trophy. Even if I just keep it in that cabinet. Because it’s a symbol of winning. And achieving. And I think we all need reminders of these accomplishments every once in a while.
Maybe you’ll even see me at BlogHer carrying my plastic trophy around in my purse with me.
Do you hold onto old trophies, awards, certificates, etc?
Am I just so lame that I feel the need to hold onto this? It’s ok, if you say yes, I’ll be fine with that.