Last week, as he was getting ready to go out to meet his accountant to file his tax return, my husband asked me where all the filing for the last year was. It’s one of those jobs that I apparently unwittingly signed up to on having children.
‘I didn’t file anything last year’ I said, ‘it’s in a pile on the floor in my office’.
‘Right’, he said, and detecting the subtle emphasis on last year and the ocean of subtext, he told me not to worry, kissed me goodbye and said we’d sort it at the weekend.
And so followed a weekend of facing some demons. We’ve moved home twice in the last 5 years, changed jobs, set up businesses, had two kids and lost my mum. These things combined, don’t make keeping on top of things easy. So while the kids watched films back to back, ate sweets and trashed the living room (emergency measures) we spent four hours organising our home office.
There were emotional moments, it made me face the extent to which I have rebelled against order in the last year, and how much that is down to bereavement. In my case I think, my inner child felt robbed much of last year, it didn’t see why it should perform like an adult. Particularly not tasks it was used to having – if not actual, then emotional -encouragement from it’s mum to perform.
At the end of the weekend, in the absence of a shredder, we burnt anything personal we no longer needed in the chiminea (I had no idea what a chiminea was either, until we inherited one, it’s a clay oven ornament thing for the garden). Apart from the fact the kids loved it, it felt amazing.
My mum collected and accumulated lots of stuff, but she was a methodical tidier and organiser who rescued me on many occasions when I couldn’t see the wood from the trees. Every single time I went to or from college, every time we moved house, every time she visited as a Gran. She had the power to wave her wand and restore order. Papers on a desk put straight, the sink cleaned and the washing up done, kid’s toys put away logically. It drove me crazy of course, the constant tidying and fussing, especially in the last few years when she was ill and I didn’t feel she should be spending time tidying up.
This weekend as I stared into the fire I felt really proud of our achievements, I could see really clearly for the first time in a while. As mum showed me, you just have to start somewhere. I have always had mum’s ability to organise, it got a little lost for a bit, but I am ready to channel it once more. My Dad too, has an amazingly scientific approach to organisation. My kid’s had better watch out, I’m on a mission. In fact I picked my son up from nursery this week and his keyworker said he had been ‘amazing, a star helper, an extra member of staff’. I looked at her in disbelief. Apparently he’d been telling all the other children to ‘tidy up’ all day. Wonder who he was channelling?
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