One of our big projects for 2017 has been to turn our basement into a playroom for Miranda. Whether that means to formally finish it or just clear enough space to put an arts and crafts table down there remains to be seen. None of that matters until Gary and I clean out all of our stuff.
When we bought our house in 2009, we were not even engaged yet. He had a lifetime (and U-haul storage locker) full of items, and I had sold my condo and had all that stuff. For the most part, our things merged together nicely and what did not fit, went to the basement.
Over the years, we have purged certain things. We made a baby section for Allie's things when it turned out that she would not need them. Then we made a section for Miranda's things when it turned out that she outgrew toys and furniture and clothes even faster than we could imagine. In time, with a toddler and work and life in general, the basement became a mish-mosh of everything. Order was pretty much lost, and chaos prevailed.
When we were at the beach earlier this summer, Gary came home for a few days to tackle the basement. He generated a lot of trash and started to make sense of the madness. So far, we have donated close to 10 boxes/bags to the Veterans Association of America and sold close to $100 in items that were useful, but just not to us. We also found a family that was not able to spend money on a new foster child that they had taken in and gave them bags of stuffed animals and toys. The feeling of being able to help that family was one of the best feelings I have had yet.
This weekend, it was time to start working on my section of the basement. I quickly found high school yearbooks, my sorority pledge book, prom pictures, USY pictures, handwritten letters and more. I found piles of things from when we cleaned out my dad's house when we first moved him into a nursing home. I discovered haircuts that no one should have ever paid money for and a lot of outfits that, simply put, were not very flattering on me.
I was chock full of emotions, and I opened box after box. Settlement papers from my first house, bank statements reflecting different careers, baseball hats, straw hats, sun hats...none of which did I ever remember wearing so why did I keep buying hats?? Office supplies from different desk jobs, framed art from various walls that used to surround me and boxes and boxes and boxes of books.
In April 1992, two months before my high school graduation, I found a national newspaper in which I had a poem that ran. It was my first published piece. Who would have known it would have taken me until May 2011 to start writing again?
I found so much that was lost to me and also found so much that could have stayed lost. Letters from my dad during the time in which we did not speak that were not very positive. Pictures of myself from when I thought I was heavy or overweight and I really wasn't. And last but not least, a picture of the boy to whom I lost my virginity, and it turns out that he was much hotter in my memory than on faded film.
I have more to go through before I can pack it all away again. My one friend offered me her fire pit and some wine to have a bonfire to get rid of the bad memories. I seriously considered it until I realized that all of my past makes me who I am - the good and the bad. The lost and the found. So for now, I will throw out the trash but keep the memories. For they are all a part of my story. And I still feel like I have a story to tell.
|High School Graduation|
|Junior Prom with Josh Allen. I had a crush on him since at least 9th grade. He was a terrific date.|
|Most Likely To Be In A Broadway Play - NPHS 1992|
|Estelle & Me (Her daughter Hannah was the one who was Bat Mitzvahed back in March.) Estelle was the first one who suggested I blog. Friends since 3rd grade.|
|Kara & Me. Met my sophomore year of high school. Inseparable ever since. Eventually got our own hairstyles. Throws good bonfires.|
|Bradford & Me. Met in 1997 or so, through our mutual friend, Amy. Miranda wants me to marry him so that she can marry Gary. It's an ongoing conversation.|
|Miranda playing in her newly renovated, almost-ready play room.|