It's that time of year, when Travis and I start to have the self-same panic. The panic of things. Too many things! Why do we have so much stuff?!
I think it's brought on by many different little events. First, the winter clothes come out. They're a size bigger for boys, and instead of flimsy shorts and t-shirts, we now have bulky long-sleeve flannels and cozy corduroys, plus sweaters, hats, scarves, coats, and one dozen mismatched socks! More clothes, bigger clothes, exploding out of their dresser and closet. Shoes and boots covering the floor in front of the door at all times.
Then there are decorations. Christmas stockings are out at our house, and with them are Christmas books, advents, toys specific to the holiday, and we haven't even gotten the tree yet- which will undoubtedly take up our entire living room.
There's that baby, now, too. A baby who wants a high chair because his fat butt doesn't fit in a Bumbo. A baby who needs a box full of baby toys that he can chew on, shake, and bang against the floor without sending his older brothers into a panic attack. ("That's my dinosaur, little boy! It's not for you to have!")
And our house, in the summertime seems bigger. All the doors and windows stay open all day. Our front yard is an extension of the living room, where the boys run around and the baby and I lie on a quilt under a tree. But now, our house is smaller. Darker. Cramped. And we have to spend more time inside than out.
And the fear of Christmas and a million more toys that they don't even care about looms closer.
The answer is hard. Because Travis wants to move. Travis is always ready to move. The only reason that we don't move every twelve months when our lease expires is because I fight him on it. I fight hard. I hate moving.
My answer is to get rid of things. So I've been taking lots of trips to the thrift store, dropping off baby clothes, books that we don't read, and my own clothes that I never wear but can still barely part with.
At least 6 garbage bags of things have left our house in the last two months that way.
And then there's the garbage. Getting up early before the boys wake up, I fill garbage bags secretly with broken or unused toys. Plastic light-up swords that they rarely use, but would cry over if they saw thrown away. Guns that are dartless. Stuffed animals that have never been washed (or really adored) and are grimy and stiff from spilled milk and being dipped in the tub. Things they wouldn't miss unless they saw me throw them away. And I sneak them out to the garbage can in the dark.
But I can't. I can't get rid of everything.
We still have toys. We still have furniture. Clothes. So many books, because you can't take my books from me! A sewing table overflowing with projects, fabrics, and craft supplies.
And then there are things that aren't things. Those small and simple things that make long winter days in the house okay.
Like watching all of my boys together.
The big ones building, imagining, and talking. The little one watching, learning, and smiling.
And I think, it's not so bad being tucked up all winter.
And you guys, I love them so much, too. They're the best.