This day has been relentless. It started with gardening (which is slightly less "ugh" when every muscle isn't screaming from some day-before muscular workout). Then it segued into school shopping for my (rather entitled) teenager. Usually I resist her "needs", but she's about to start high school, so I gave in. With a proviso.
She got Nikes and Uggs and Lulu Lemons and Roots. (Until I became a parent, I never understood how anyone could spend so much fucking money on someone - other than herself...)
See, my kid is a hoarder from way back. She gets it from her father. Over the summer, however, she's put a ton of effort into remodeling her bedroom. She's fixed the plaster walls and painted. She drew and then painted a mural (of the Versace Medusa) - yes, I allowed this in the name of artistic expression. She's chosen all new furniture from IKEA (which we'll visit soon). The theme is 80s black and white.
But that child has clothing from grade 6 pushed into the back of her wardrobe. Who are we kidding - grade 4. She has every American Girl product that was ever made. She has never thrown out one piece of plastic jewelry she's ever been given. Did I mention that we could build a viable suspension bridge with her hair ties?
Y'all know I am as opposite to this as a human being could be. My every piece of clothing is folded perfectly and stored by weight and colour. I abhor clutter. I can barely stand my house right now, truth be told, between the basement (the fire hazard that is my husband's zone of hoarding) and all of the things that have fallen apart over the winter. I realize this is a terribly first-world problem, but I cannot understand how I work my ass off to ensure that I am not beholden to things and my family members thwart me at every turn. And they touch the walls with their grimy hands.
But back to the bargain. Today I agreed to spend a paycheck on teenage-style luxury goods in return for a true purge of the child's room. It was almost easy to gain her acquiescence, really, because she cannot stand what her room has become. She's spent 14 years digging in to avoid doing what I want and it's resulted in a prison for her.
So, today, after gardening and spending and negotiating, M and I came home and we cleaned. Oh, we cleaned for hours. We threw out so much stuff that most of it is still in bags in her closet (which we haven't even scratched the surface of, Lord help me) because we couldn't fit it into our outside bin.
Usually, I parse out everything and prepare stuff for the lawn and put stuff in batches for my sister's kids. I couldn't even bring myself to go there. It was all we could do to throw shit away (even as my eco-self was horrified). Much of it was in terrible shape or totally cheap and hideous (as is the way when your kid starts shopping for herself). Some of it has been left in the closet (for the next purge, next weekend) so I'll have to consider how to clean and repurpose that stuff.
What amazes me - and likely what would amaze my friends - is that her room was a pit of detritus but it didn't impact any part of the rest of the house. I backed off a couple of years ago, resigned to wait until she leaves home in adulthood before reclaiming and clearing the space. I couldn't stand the fighting. That child and I have fought over just about everything, it seems. I no longer have the will. I'm a hormonal mess, for fuck's sake.
At any rate, sometimes we join forces. And today, as we struggled in tandem, I realized I was doing the yeoman's work - the mother's work. We would never have been there, soaked in sweat, overwhelmed, if M had agreed to let go of things little by little. But even though it's an azure-skied Saturday in August, even though I would have thought I'd have been compelled to say "I told you so", I worked and cajoled. I calmed and problem-solved. And we got somewhere.
Then the wine opener broke as I was half way through uncorking a (well-deserved) 40-dollar Amarone. Needless to say, don't talk to me about letting go.