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.



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12 responses to “Winner

  1. First of all, yes to the secret hoarding. My house is pretty clean and I have very little clutter. Before kids I was a neat freak; now I can’t claim that title, but I still do an okay job. Except, and it’s a big except, for most of my drawers and closets. My secret shame. They’re on my list for this summer, too.

    As for the awards. Yes, I’ll take one. I’m more competitive than I like to admit… My parents framed a bunch of my old swimming medals and they (the medals, not my parents) are hanging in my bathroom. I look at them every day as a reminder that it feels good to win – then I try to go do a great job at whatever is on my plate that day. I fail a lot, but the medals are a good reminder all the same.

  2. Hooray for trophies! We need to organize a Mommy Field Day, where we race around holding a baby in one arm and making a peanut butter sandwich with the other hand and picking up Cheerios off the floor with our toes and lobbing them into the trash can with a swift scissor kick. I mean, I could at least win a white ribbon in that event. =>

  3. I want a trophy! Any trophy. Even a Best at Loading the Dishwasher trophy. Is that wrong?

  4. Nicki

    I have boxes of kids’ trophies, having had two very strong athletes in the brood. I would easily get rid of those and keep only the plates that tell what they are for but I have on trophy that is mine (and now a medal from a 5K a week or so ago) that I have yet to ditch. Like you, the recognition is a part of why I keep it. The other reason is what it is from – I was part of a team triathlon in 2001 (no, not the runner). We took 2nd place in the women’s division.

    There are things we don’t want to give up, even though we may think that we should. Hold on to the piece of your past. It has helped you be who you are today.

  5. This makes me want to mail a trophy to my best mommy friends. You are so right. Stacia, let’s do a field day. But it will be like pee wee little league where EVERYONE gets a trophy because showing up is winning here.
    And I still have a trophy from a high school German competition, and a plastic medal for ice skating. Lame. But, I won them. They are mine.

  6. Becca, sometimes I read your words and think, wait, am I looking into a mirror? I still keep my medals from college that marked my academic achievements. They currently sit proudly inside a drawer together with thesis papers that received high praise from my professors. Very occasionally, I reach in to this drawer and try to recall those days when I actually received accolades for my hard work.

    These days? The “medal” comes in the form of completed laundry (very rare), clean kitchen, organized desk and a baby who sleeps soundly. Nothing quite as glossy AND tangible as a trophy.

    And it does sadden me a bit considering motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life…

  7. drama's mama

    You deserve a trophy! A very big trophy! You’re doing an amazing mothering job AND YOU DESERVE A TROPHY!
    The only trophy I ever got was from my tennis team 30 years ago. My hands were strong then and I was the one who always tested the tennis balls to see if they were still playable. My trophy read “Team ball squeezer”. Should I be proud?

  8. SAHM, hell each and every mom deserves a trophy. Hang on to that beauty!

  9. I don’t find it strange to hold on to trophies. Even the most secure person (not me) will reflect on those moments when they were praised with fondness.

    My trophies have all disappeared in my various moves, but I still talk about them. Because I am proud of them.

    And, by the way, I did/do tell my husband about the blog awards I have received. : )

  10. I hear you! Who ever thought I’d miss performance evaluations (!!?) when I gave up the corporate gig to do the mom thing.

  11. I have a hard time parting with things I find sentimental. My hubby, on the other hand, would throw the entire contents of our house in the trash if I’d let him. When we were moving to our first house he was on a purging binge and wanted me to follow suit. I had my old letterman jacket from high school. Dude, we were state champs in Volleyball, I couldn’t throw it away! I got the idea to take pictures of the old stuff that was lame, would just sit in a box and take up space. Now I have a folder on my hard drive to wax nostalgic and space in my attic!! Just a thought.

  12. I have kept a box full of all of the trophies I have ever won, from elementary school to adulthood. Each time I get a desire to throw them out, I don’t. I want to be reminded of who I was in the past and my potential for the future. I completely understand whey you hold on to yours.

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