I like to think I’m a creative genius, but really, I’m just messy.
On Christmas Day, Ben grabbed me by the elbow, “I need to show you something amazing.”
He ushered me to the closet next to my mom’s kitchen, “See this! THIS is a pantry. The dishes are lined up neatly, the tablecloths are folded. There’s a shelf just for paper plates! Canned foods stand in rows and boxed foods have their own section.”
I couldn’t help but join him in admiration as we stooped to see the basket filled with pasta, stood on tiptoes to caress the cake platters and lovingly counted the hooks holding brooms and aprons.
In Ben’s defense, he does a lot to keep our pantry organized, but he has no control over me and my disaster in the back.
Like everyone, I’ve spent the past few days clearing up, finishing tasks, trying to make order out of Christmas chaos. I’ve spent several hours searching for a VIP (very important paper) that I put in a VSP (very special-but unknown- place) so I wouldn’t lose it. At least I found my gym pass and some photos for my dad. I promptly put my gym pass in an envelope to mail to my dad and didn’t catch my mistake until I tried to put the photos in my wallet. It’s sad. Truly.
Still, I take heart. My mother didn’t have a clean pantry until she was in her fifties and she was still unstructured at heart. She used to give me tips on how to survive in the hyper-organized world of Mormon women: “When you sign up to bring food put your phone number next to your name with a note that says, ‘Please call and remind me. I’m forgetful.'”
There’s something so powerful in acknowledging “this is the way I am.” Mom worked hard to keep track of birthdays and bills and very important papers, but it was work. Ordered efficiency didn’t come naturally to her.
And like me, she often worried that she’d “made a mess of things.” I know she felt misunderstood and judged and melancholy on dark January days. So I’m trying to remember “We have so much happiness ahead of us. So much happiness.”
I’m trying. I’m trying.
If you need me, I’m cleaning the pantry.
p.s. TravelinOma wrote a fantastic this post this week about being real; I think she’s really fabulous.