There’s nothing under my bed.
This may be a strange statement to you, but it is one that has brought me a modicum of comfort this week. When I was young I used to take a running leap to into bed at night because I had fears of what might reach out from the underneath to grab at my leg if I got too close. In reality, all that was under there were piles of toys, dust bunnies, and trash. Periodically, my mom would come in with a broom to sweep everything out into the middle of the floor with the pronouncement,
“Now, put all these toys where they belong and throw away the trash.”
But still, you may wonder what this has to do with my present life. Certainly, I know enough about the real dangers of this world to not spend time worrying about imaginary boogeymen. Well, to help you understand, I need to backtrack a month or two.
In January I announced that I had become involved in trying to clean out and organize with the long-term goal of selling our house and moving into something smaller. To aid in this process, I had become a flybaby – that is I had begun to receive emails from the Flylady giving me a daily list of simple housecleaning tasks. I was feeling empowered by the sense of bringing order to my little world. This approach makes things doable to those of us who are sorely lacking in the homemaking department.
In conjunction with this, I was beginning to have a sense of balance and ease to the flow of things. I began to have the freedom to be involved in teas and showers. April was booked with more outside engagements than I had signed up for in years. I even planned an overnight trip to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary.
And then my daughter’s health crumbled. She moved home in such a state that I found myself once again up at odd hours of the night tending to her. My life became one of answering one call for help after another, going from the bedroom where my husband lay to the bedroom where my daughter lay. I was spending a lot of time in the kitchen preparing grain-free meals for my daughter, grain-full meals for my husband, and then realizing I had to figure out something to feed myself. Trips to the grocery store became more frequent. Reading was reduced to Pinterest Paleo sites. And I found myself hitting the delete button before even reading what the cleaning “flight-plan” was for a particular day. My shiny sink was no longer shiny. My floors were not mopped. My toilets and bathroom sinks were not swished and swiped.
And then I crumbled. Not physically, just emotionally. It was so discouraging to me to see all the progress I had made slowly eroding into chaos. Sell my house? How could I possibly show a house under present circumstances? As I am prone to do when the burden seems unbearable, I called my friend, Kathy. She was the voice of reason in the midst of my pity party. She reminded me that my life commitment was to my husband. Everything else needed to point toward his best interest. This meant teaching my daughter some survival skills. She helped me to come up with solutions for other plans that had become derailed in the midst of the chaos. And she helped me go from, “I will never…” to “just not at the moment.” Everyone should have a Kathy in her life.
So. I have at this point shoveled through the debris in the kitchen enough to verify that there are no dead bodies lurking there. I have stopped offering my services to various and sundry outside activities. I have not, however stopped the things that give me some sanity, i.e. church, chorus, book study group, and writing group. My daughter and I have a plan to start teaching her some basic kitchen skills. Perhaps we will blog some of our successes and failures. We have managed to find someone to take over her apartment lease, and I have mentally shuffled things between rooms to make a place for her furniture. I have started the process to get Strokeman into swimming. I am beginning to work back into my morning routine of reading and writing between preparing breakfasts.
On Sunday I resolved that this week I would begin reading the flylady emails again. On Monday, I opened the email to see that this week we are concentrating on the master bedroom. The task for the day was, “spend fifteen minutes cleaning out from under the bed.” There’s nothing under my bed. I realized in that moment that I had not, indeed, lost all progress that had been made this year. Yes, my plan had taken some pretty big hits. But not everything has been lost. Every time I start to go down the path of discouragement I remind myself: There is nothing under my bed. It’s a small thing, I know. But for someone like me who has a long history of stashing as opposed to organizing, it has some significance. And if the storm starts raging too fiercely, I have a place to hide.