It is important to know that I LOVE organizing, purging, and packing. I enjoy the satisfaction of something finished. Accomplished. Checked off the list. I am thrilled by a well organized, cleaned cabinet. I secretly celebrate each trash bag as it’s hauled out to the trash can, and if that can begins to overflow, it must be I am doing something correctly! I guarantee that if you ask my hubs or kiddos to describe me in 5 words - organized will be one of them (Some of the other words may be less flattering, but whatevs, the house is clean!). I have always been organized. When Emma Grace was little, she would place post-it notes on anything that she didn't want me to throw away. I notoriously threw away school papers, projects, pictures, and treasures. She knew she couldn’t control my compulsion to eliminate clutter, but she could play on mom guilt with a well placed note. Smart girl.
With this love of organizing, you would think that packing up everything belonging to Scott, Scottie, Zoey and me would be the highlight of the year. And in my mind, it would be. In my mind, it would be no big deal. Easy. It would fall right into my wheelhouse of talents and giftedness. So imagine my surprise when I would hide and watch Netflix, Real Housewives (because I have an obsession with those ladies), or read yet another book for hours and hours. It is clear that I was avoiding something - not the work, but rather the feelings.
One of the first things I tackled were the books and files in our office. Grabbing a huge plastic tub, I begin placing every children’s book that I wanted to read with my grandchildren one day. Why in the world would I be thinking about my imaginary, non-existent amazing grandchildren? The realization that I would most likely be moving back to the States when Jake and Emma Grace were beginning their families. It is like 5 years that have disappeared. Some books were easy and no brainers. Go, Dog, Go was read easily 10,000 times to my kids and I will read it to a little Jake or a little Emma Grace! Other books were more difficult. Finally, I told Jake and Emma Grace to choose books they felt connected to...and surprisingly they didn't pull many off the shelf. I hope it means that I chose wisely the first time. The rest of the books were boxed up and placed in the garage for us to deal with later.
Then I began going through our files. Easy. Clear cut. But then I pulled out 3 white binders and a folder filled with all of Scottie’s medical reports, evaluations, and every single piece of paperwork we kept from her public school journey. I began looking through the thousands of pieces of paper. All of those hours sitting in meetings. I reread a few of the emails between her last public school teacher and me, and I began to feel all of those same feelings. Anger. Disappointment. Sadness. Hopelessness. Courage. Love. The need for justice. I could not throw away the documents. I couldn’t even move them to another spot. They just sat there on the table, and I walked away. Me. The queen of throwing away items that are not needed. I couldn’t do it because of the emotions. Not the happy emotions, but rather the hard emotions that were all-consuming for over a year. I did NOT want or need one single document, but I could NOT sit in those feelings. I was surprised with my purge paralysis. I texted a friend and tried to process it. I told Scott. I told him he had to throw them away for me, but he didn’t take action as quickly as I would. So I marched over to the stack, picked them up and threw them away. No regrets. No fanfare. No crying. And I felt zero regret...only relief. Relief that it was gone. Relief that because of that experience when Scottie was 9, we made the decision to pull her out of public school. Thankfulness because I was able spend a year a half homeschooling her, which was such a sweet time for us. Gratitude for her transition to Next Step Academy and her sweet time there. The ending represented by those notebooks marked a beginning. Throwing away the notebooks did not alter the experience, but it simply forced an opportunity to revisit it.
Purging and packing has been harder than I thought it would be - for me. Choosing what to take and what to leave behind keeps me in past and future mindset. I have not been present. I need to be present. I don’t want to regret not being present.
Packing represents the end and a beginning. The end of here and beginning of there. Yet, the two children I am leaving here become a part of my there, as viewed from the DR. “See ya laters” here means that I will say hello to my friends there. The sadness over the leaving is mixed in with the excitement of arriving. A paradox of feelings. No happy wrap up thought. I know, “it’s fine” and “it will be fine”. But today, I am sitting in the paradox of an end and a beginning.
Packing: An End and a Beginning