You can’t make this stuff up

October 23, 2010 | Olivia

Take a good look at the photo above. This is a perfect statement on my life at this point. Or a good indication of why my sanity seems to be in constant peril. Let me give you the back story…

I decided to take a deep breath and head into Olivia’s room for a bit of de-cluttering today. We needed to move summer clothes out and winter clothes in, but it’s not nearly so simple with my beloved 10-year-old middle child. She is a collector, a pack rat extraordinaire. I dare any other 10-year-old to top her. And just so you know I’m not exaggerating, let me take you through just one drawer in her bedroom. That is where I discovered the items above. I’ll introduce you.

On the left we have her collection of “whistling acorns,” and, trust me, she practices her acorn whistling all the time. Next we have “Spoonella.” Yes, that is a plastic spoon with a pipe cleaner wrapped around it. You might not be able to see her little eyes and nose, but they’re there. Next in our crazy lineup is my personal favorite: Pinkie. When I pulled this little gem out of the drawer and started to toss it into the trash bag because it is the broken heel off a plastic dress-up shoe, Olivia screamed. It’s a dog. She turned a broken shoe into a dog and will not part with it. Need I say more? Why, yes. I do need to say more.

Bringing up the rear in our photo is the balloon she got at a gymnastics birthday party one year ago. Apparently she’s holding onto this one to see just how small it will get. That, too, was saved from the trash heap. And, what I wasn’t able to photograph for fearing of ruining furniture was the oozing bag of “goop” brought home from school last year. This mix of water, glue and who knows what else was seeping out of its sandwich bag and onto everything around it. That I threw away, despite the arguments.

So there you have it. I could go on and on…the shoe box full of “fossils,” the Hello Kitty tin of tags saved off clothing (she bequeathed this to Chiara today), the endless stacks of journals with one page written in each — the one to save the pandas, the one to save the earth, the one to document nature, the one to catalog fairies, the one for her detective “business.”

Despite my frustration over the disaster that is her room, this kid makes me smile and smile. Just writing this post and thinking about her wide-eyed face as she described Spoonella makes me happy. And Spoonella isn’t the only one of her kind. She has family somewhere among Olivia’s friends. Did I ever have an imagination this amazing? I don’t think so. How I wish I could go back to that magical place if only for a day.

Go ahead, open a drawer. You never know what kind of treasures you might find.



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