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I Haven’t Seen You Since 2017

Those are the words I just heard from the boy.  Yes, I’ve spoken to him.  Yes, he’s opening up.  Yes, I am going to see him!

I’ve been calling every couple of weeks, just to say hi.  He’s been a little quiet, but receptive.

My friend and I hatched a plan.  There is a fun activity this Saturday, near him,  that we want to attend.  I called to see if the boy wanted to join us.  He said yes!

I’ve called once a week, just to check in.  And, to make sure he hasn’t changed his mind.  This Saturday when I called, he sounded like the boy I raised.  He is giddy with excitement.  Excited to see me.  Excited to see his sister!  Excited to meet my friend!

It will be our first family outing in forever.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time.  Last time he was “home”, it didn’t go so well.  Things haven’t been going well since then.  I’m excited to share this break through, with all of you, my ever loyal supporters.

He opened up a lot on the phone.  Things haven’t been so great there either.  He’s still not working, he has let his grooming go slack (don’t get me started), we’ve discovered he wasn’t given the $300 check I sent him two years ago, they “couldn’t get the phone card I sent to work” (and never told me so I could take care of ), and the past house manager that started all of our problems, is currently on the run with a co-worker from there for drugs.

Over the past month, I’ve been reaching out and trying to work through a few things with the owners.  Once again, my attempts at communication are met with no replies.

I’d like to do something about all of this.  But I’m not.  Not this time.  Right now, it’s time to focus on building a relationship back up with the boy.

He’s excited!  He can’t wait to hug us!

He asked a lot about his sister’s group home.  He especially wanted to know how far away she is from me (15 minutes).  He asked a lot about her job, and mine.  I am guardingly hopeful he is thinking.  Thinking like he used to, that it might be nice to be closer to us.  Only time will tell.

It wasn’t easy, but I laid out my expectations.  He needs to be  clean, well groomed and wearing nice clothes or he doesn’t get in the car.  He promised he would be.  He needs to come out to the car, I won’t enter that place.

It will be a light day.  Hopefully, filled with fun and lot’s of laughs.  He can’t wait to “give you a hard time, mom.”  His favorite thing to do.  It’s always his way at humor and trying to make me laugh.  They are calling for a chance of rain, but that’s ok.  We won’t let it dampen our spirits.  Not after two years of not seeing each other.

He’s excited.  We’re excited.  He can’t wait to hug us.  We can’t wait to hug him.

Never, ever give up. Never, ever lose hope.

Shine On!

Jill

Why? Why Do I Camp? Why?

I love to camp.  Most of you know that.  But this last weekend, I had to ask myself why, more than once.

We have visited this park before and loved it so back we went.  However, it was to a new to us site.  We nearly missed the road into our site as it was narrow and quite steep.  As we drove down to our site, the three of us smiled with excitement as we noted the large area.  We were perched high above the St. Croix river with more than enough room for our tents.  I almost danced a jig when I discovered we had not one, but 2 little waterfalls that we could listen to as well as see! I had water on 3 sides of me and I was beyond elated!  I am a self proclaimed water baby from a very early age.  Nothing soothes my soul like water does.  We quickly ( three hours) set up camp!

It all began  in the middle of the first night.  I purchased a really nice, queen size, 22″ off the ground air mattress.  Yes, an indulgence.  But at my age, anything that keeps me up off of the ground is a blessing.  This particular mattress has an internal pump.  My car was parked several hundred feet from our tent so we had to plug it into my car with a converter to inflate it.  We( he quickly, me asking him to slow down as the terrain was very rough) carried it to the tent and opened the door to get it ready for our 3 night stay.  It was quite disconcerting when we realized, after turning this way and that way, that it wasn’t going to fit into the tent!  I’m sure we looked like  something from The Three Stooges as I listened to Becky giggle and scream in fits of laughter as we struggled.  I was completely frustrated by our predicament and wasn’t really happy with her giggling but then I admitted to myself, I would have been laughing too.  I’m not quite sure how, but we finally got it through that door!    Why?  First time I asked this of myself.

We went on to have a lovely evening, sitting and soaking in the river view, a nice dinner of bratwurst on a fire.  All was well.  I answered my first why.  This is why.

We all settled in, tired from a full day and went to sleep.  I was zoned in on the peaceful sounds of the waterfall to the right of my head.  The bed felt wonderful and I was as snug as a bug in a rug.  That is, until  we awoke in the middle of the night, trapped, literally trapped in our bed.  It had begun to deflate and we were stuck in a deep V in the center, much like you’ve seen people stuck in hospital beds in the comedies of yore. By this time, it had begun to rain.  Not hard, but it made it a little chillier than it normally would have been, even though we were dry.  It wasn’t long before I was tossing and turning, cold, damp and stiff, flat on the floor, that I was asking myself the 2nd why of the weekend.

The next morning, we spent a few hours drying up a few, very small puddles in our tent.  We survived the rain quite well.  The girls tent was another matter.  Her tent, clothing and bedding were wet!  We speedily hung up some lines and hung everything up to dry.  The question was, how to dry the bottom of the tent.  My partner had an ingenious idea!  We rigged up a pulley with rope and hung the tent from a tree.  All the while we worked, the girl enjoyed watching a group of Asian youth in a summer camp and their leader doing meditation and exercises in the middle of the road up near our driveway.  Ok.  I watched too.  A little.  It really was fascinating watching the discipline instilled in these many young people.  Of course, as a  mom, I was a tad concerned for them sitting in the middle of a road, even though it was far less traveled than most.  Luckily, we had returned from an early run to Walmart, to purchase a new mattress, before they blocked us in.

Since we couldn’t do anything until the tent dried, we climbed, and I don’t use that term lightly, down a very steep, rocky, and tree root filled “path” to the river. My knees screamed out in agony the entire way down but I made it and was so glad I did as I had my second “why” answered!  We spent a fair amount of time fishing with no bites.  I didn’t care though as I was near the water, fishing and watching the eagles soar above me.  The climb up was a tad easier but the elevation presented a wee bit of a challenge.  I didn’t care though.  I could touch the water, anytime I wanted!

Our evening was as delightful as was our day. We had burgers on the open fire, the girl had her smores, we visited and laughed. A few fireflies graced us with their presence and the crickets and frogs serenaded us. The girl and I had quite a nice talk about being “well rounded.”  She seemed to really grasp the concept as we talked about our love of different genres of music and how we love being girly girls but we also love to get down and dirty!  She went onto ask if Grandma (my mom liked to camp).  I told her she did not and the girl then asked “Wasn’t it her tea of cup?”  I giggled inside and told her no, it wasn’t her cup of tea.

Bright and early the next morning, the girl beckoned me from the front of our tent by whispering (not too quietly), “Mom!  I’m going to take a shower!”  I quickly sprang (OK, not so quickly nor so springily) got out of bed while telling her she was not going to shower alone!  With sleep still in my eyes, we wandered to the showers. She hopped into the first available one and I could not figure out why she kept yelling!  A few moments later, she opened the door and told me I had forgotten the towels!  Back to camp I went.  It wasn’t a long walk, but it wasn’t a short one either.  By the time I got back, a second stall had opened so in I went, very eager for a nice, hot I shower.  I soon learned my expectations were set too high and I once again, asked myself why, as very cold water pelted against my skin.  Since I was already wet, I was committed to completing the job.  Completed it, I did, and walked back to camp with a towel on my head and chattering teeth.  We later learned the water heater had broken!

Once back at camp, I started a roaring fire and felt much better in a short amount of time.  After a marvelous camp breakfast on the open fire, we decided it was time for a hike.  It was a very entertaining hike.  The weather was perfect as we meandered over rocks and roots, plains and hills to view the pot holes left from the Ice Ages.  We had stunning views from atop the rocks of the St. Croix River.  We stood, mouths agape, as we watched several teenage boys cliff diving on the Minnesota side.  My heart was in my throat.  I’m hoping many of you mothers can understand why.  We strolled a little further and came upon a couple of guys rock climbing.  Seeing that curled my toes.  I admire their athleticism but you couldn’t pay me to try that!  As we rounded the loop back to the car, I was feeling muscles I never knew I had!  The girl was beat and not feeling so well so once we got back to camp, we decided we needed to make an emergency run to Walmart (again) for some supplies to ease her pain.  Luckily, it wasn’t a far drive.

We returned to camp, once again.  I’m not sure where I got the energy, but I wanted to get back down to the river.  The girl wasn’t up for it so my friend and I descended back down the steep terrain.  I took time to walk more of the shore line and even rolled up my pants and waded in the river.  Had it not been such a murky bottom, I would have dived right in, clothes and all. I was enjoying my time, when I heard something .  The only way I can describe it is a gurgling sound. In just a few short steps, I found another little waterfall with a pool at the bottom just the right size for my feet!  I was in my element when I put my feet and legs in it and relished the cool, rushing water running over them.  I splashed the water on my neck and face and was awed by my setting. I was deliriously happy!   This was my HUGE WHY answered!  It was all I could do to pry myself away from my little piece of heaven but I needed to play sous chef to the master chef so off I went, carrying that feeling with me, even today.  Baked potatoes and pork chops were on the menu for the night.  It was a warm evening and the sun was dancing off the river.  We played some Yahtzee (of course, I lost) and dined on out feast!

There was a bit of rain in the forecast for the wee hours of the upcoming morning, so we got things put away after enjoying the nights campfire and before retiring for the night.  Around 3 a.m., I was jarred awake by my friend jumping out of the bed!  I hadn’t awaken to the thunder and lightning but it wasn’t long before my eyes were wide open as I heard rain pummeling our tent!  I got up on my feet as quickly as I could, only to feel at least an inch of water under the tent floor!  I’ve never experienced anything like it before.   My first thought was that I had to get to the girl!  The challenge was on how to get out as we were fearful that by opening the tent door, the rain would fly in and flood us out!  After pacing like a caged mother trying to get to her “baby” and imagining her floating away in her tent,  I whipped open the door and flew out into the most intense rain I’ve ever felt!  I rushed to the girls tent and began hollering her name.  She groggily said “What, MOM?”  She had been sleeping right though the whole thing!  I got her out and the three of us rushed to the car for a couple of hours of fitful sleep, while soaking wet with no blankets to warm us.

We awoke quite early, to cloudy skies, fearful of more rain arriving.  To make it short and sweet, we worked like dogs for the next four hours trying to dry everything the best we could and packing up for the return trip home.  I was feeling pretty deflated thinking about all the work that lay ahead of us, once we arrived home.  It took me nearly a day and a half to do laundry, we had to dry out and sweep out the tents and get it all packed away for the next trip.  By Monday afternoon, I was spent.  Physically worn out.  Dead tired.  But, we persevered, got it all done while I secretly thought, never again.

And then.  I remembered.  The fires.  The great conversations.  The water falls.  My waterfall. The river.  Yes, my whys were all answered and I will camp again.  I pushed myself and reminded myself I can do what I set my mind to do.  It might just take me a little longer nowadays.  But I can and will do it.

With the last load of laundry folded and put away, I sighed a huge sigh of relief.  And then, I walked into the girls room to begin packing her things back up.  You see, she’s moving out again in a few short days.  While my emotions about it are running amok, it all turned to a feeling of defeat as I “discovered” three more loads of laundry she had piled in a corner!  Back to laundry I went. Then I reminded myself, it’s one more act of love I can do for her before she is gone.  So my double date with washer and dryer continued for the next night and a half.

We are excited about her move.  She’s grown a lot in the last year.  However, understandably, we’re a little nervous as the last time we tried this, it didn’t go so well.  We’re optimistic though!  And we are looking forward, not back.

So, over the course of 12 days, we camped for 3 nights, 4 days, have cleaned out and packed a closet, a dresser and repacked her belongings that have been stored in the garage.  We have tossed things and have items to donate.  I’ve exchanged many emails with the county and the new group home, we squeezed in a required physical for the girl, worked, picked up medications, made many calls, and will visit the State Fair on Saturday.  Our last blast of summer and of being together under one roof.

I apologize if this post has gotten too long.  I have been writing it for 4 days.  In bits and pieces, as I could eek out a few moments to sit.  It’s a true representation of our lives these days.  Ever changing, challenging, revolving and rewarding.  I’m sure you can all relate.

So until next time…

Shine On!

Jill

 

 

 

Who’s Weird?

Weird:  of strange or extraordinary character : odd, fantastic. 2 : of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural : magical. weird.

This is the definition according to  the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

Throughout the years, I’ve heard that word used to describe my kids, on more than one occasion.  Luckily for me, I have a pretty decent sense of humor.  I have used those moments in time to use my humor as a defense and to learn to let things go that I can’t control.  I’ve never held it against anyone.

People judge when they don’t understand.  Especially when they are young.  Back in school, I can recall being called weird.  For some reason I’ve never really understood, I grew to actually like that term.  It meant I didn’t fit into any certain mold.  I embraced it.  If everyone else was swooning over David Cassidy, I was proud to stand alone and be in love with Bobby Sherman!  When my parents offered to buy me a new bike, similar to the ones all of my friends were riding, I asked for an acoustic guitar.  Some thought it was strange but I was quite content with my “old” bike and I was eager to learn the guitar.  Well, truth be told, I quickly had to admit to myself that I didn’t really want to learn how to play the guitar, I wanted to learn to play songs on the guitar!  I did just that.  Who cares if it was only 2 songs, I could play music!

Being a parent of special needs children and a tenured special education paraprofessional, I’ve heard the word “weird” vollied around more times than I can count.  In fact, some of my special education students would call be weird.  My response?  “Why, yes, I am weird and I am proud of it!”  I hope they have hung onto those words and that they carry them forward with them through their lives.  I really hope I have also instilled that in my own children.

Maybe you think it’s yet another example of me being weird.  I’ll respond to that later.

I didn’t realize it when my kids were young, but it was much easier to parent special needs children as children.  It has gotten much harder as they have become adults.  There is far more judgement towards them.  It happens at the grocery store, big box stores, anyplace we may go.  People judge what they don’t understand.

I’ve learned to deal with it.  I’ve learned to ignore it.  I’ve learned to place it deep in the crevices of my mind.  I’ve learned to laugh about it.  I’ve done what I can to give other “weirdos” like me, permission to love the term like I do.

At least I thought I was over it.  It happened again, not too long ago.  I’ve had people come in to my life and my children’s life and they have been leary, hesitate.  I respect those that openly tell me they haven’t ever dealt with someone with special needs.  I use moments like that to educate them with one. simple. sentence.  I respond “They are people, just like you and me, they feel, they bleed, they want acceptance.”  I’ve seen more than one person relax and learn that they really aren’t so bad!  I’ve also had people walk into our lives that just get it  They treat them as they would like to be treated.  They tease them, talk to them, acknowledge them and make them feel valuable, all on their own.

But it all comes down to this.  I’m weird. They are my children so of course they are weird.  We are proud of it.    Why?  Well, the first part of the definition of the word explains it all!  It states “of strange or extraordinary character.”  

Why thank you, Merriam Webster.  Yes we are!  We are extraordinary characters.

 

Shine On!

Jill

Pieces of My Heart

Growing up in a small town, I learned what a good neighbor should be.  It was demonstrated time and time again.  My parents had many good neighbors and they were very good neighbors themselves.

If the store (yes, the one and only grocery store) was closed, someone nearby always had an extra cup of sugar to lend.  If someone was ill, there was always a willing hand or two to help.  If a project was being worked on, a word of advice or an extra set of muscles were at the ready.

If tragedy struck, there were shoulders to lean on and casseroles abounding.  There really was never a need to be alone, in our little old town.  Those traditions still carry on there.

It’s these memories I cherish.  Small town America. Where people cared about their neighbors and children ran free.  We could bike or snowmobile for miles without fear of danger and where every parent watched out for every child.

Since being an adult, I lived in other states for awhile.  Alaska and Texas to be specific.  I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. I’ve lived at several locations while in the metro area.  I have known few neighbors that I could call friends.  Those that I have, I hold tightly to my heart.  I know the value of a good neighbor and friend.

Moving to my townhome has been no exception.  I quickly came to know a friend a few doors down.  We became steadfast friends, worked on projects together and she has helped (or completely) done projects for me that were over my head (I’m not the handiest of people).  She is several years younger than me but it hasn’t mattered.  We help each other in good and bad.  She remains here and I am grateful.

A few years back, a young couple with two young boys moved in behind me.  I was immediately struck by the old fashioned values of the man of the house.  He was the first one of the family I met when he knocked on my door and asked if he could use my hose to fill his pool.  I was delighted to be able to help!  I told him he would never have to ask again, that he could help himself at anytime.  I admit surprise when a few days or maybe weeks later, he came back and asked to use it again.  I reiterated that it was his to use at any time.  A friendship began that day, the depth of which I couldn’t have anticipated.

It took a little longer to get to know “her.”  After all, she was busy raising two young boys.  It wasn’t long before they added a third little guy to the family.  I spent countless hours observing them across the way, admiring their parenting skills and theyjoy they instilled in their children.

Little by little, we began chatting across the common ground between us, until we began spending most Friday nights together.  We would talk and laugh into the wee hours.  We really hit it off.  I’ll never forget the night though that they reported to my friend and I that we were the same age as their parents!  I seriously had not even registered the thought as we had so much in common, in so many areas, in so many ways.  It was a stunning realization to me but it didn’t affect our relationship at all as they went on to say they wished their parents were “as cool as we were!”

They have been there for me.  I can’t forget the week I was working two jobs and they hadn’t seen lights on here for a couple of nights.  I got a text from them, checking to make sure I was OK.  Or the treats they made with the kids and delivered them to us.  Or helping me find a new car.  And most currently, the great sod escapade.  If it hadn’t been for him, I still wouldn’t have sod!

I have watched their three littles grow by leaps and bounds.  They youngest is now 2, the middle one is soon to be 4 and they eldest is 9 ( I hope I have this right, B and B!).  I have had immeasurable hours of delight watching everything from potty training, learning to ride a bike, updates on dance competitions, making and splashing in mud puddles, bare bottoms and mouths stuck to their patio door, athletics in the backyard, brotherly love and a few knock out, drag out brotherly spats.  I’ve had countless smiles as the middle one yells across the way “Hi neighbor!” every time he saw me.  He and I even baked cookies together one day.  I changed a diaper one evening and was elated to learn I still knew how!

And love.  Oh, how I have seen the love grow over the years.  Young parents instilling all of the good qualities into their children.  Seeing the smiles, listening to the giggles and feeling the love radiate from their family of five.

I don’t think they will ever understand the impact they have had on me.  They brought back good memories.  They left me with many more.  They renewed my faith in humanity.  They let me play grandma to their three precious boys.  They lifted me when I was low and raised laughter up with me when I was joyful.  They shared themselves, their friendship, their family, their love with me and I am so grateful.

They moved away this weekend.  Not far. We’ll see them again.  But it’s not the same.  It will never be the same.  As I get older, it gets harder for me to see people I care about move on. I feel alone.  Yet, I am thrilled for them.  They are branching out.  They are looking for a home of their own.  They will soar.  Not from anything anyone has done for them but because of who they are.

I wanted to do something remarkable for them before they left but I couldn’t figure out the right thing.  In the end, all I could do was hug them farewell then shed my tears when they left the driveway.

I decided to just send them this message. Thank you for being my friend.  Thank you for sharing your family with me.  It’s truly been an honor. Come back as often as you can.  But don’t ever let coming back stop you from moving ahead.  I’m your biggest fan and I know you will achieve great things, your family of five.

Shine On and Love On!

Jill

Right, not Left, Please!

I did it!  I finally took my first Uber ride.  It’s been a long time coming.  I have a good friend that drives for Uber so she dispelled some of my fears but I will admit, I still wouldn’t ever have done it if I hadn’t been with another friend.  All in all, it wasn’t really scary.  Well, except it was during Saturday night’s storm and it was hard to see the road.  We began on a straight stretch of highway.  Our driver was in no rush which was appreciated due to the storm.  The closer we got to home, the harder the ride became.

At last, we came to the first turn in our journey.  The driver was preparing to get in the left hand lane to make a left hand turn.  “No, right”, I said.  With some hesitation, he got over and we made the right hand turn.  We progressed to the next stop light, which was a left hand turn and we sailed through the green light without incident.  But, then, it happened again.  A right hand turn was looming.  It was obvious the driver was going to miss the turn so once again, I chimed in “You need to turn right here.”  Again, he hesitated but ended up taking the turn.  A mere 1/2 block later, it was again, a right hand turn and yes, I had to tell him that, I wanted to prepare him. He made the turn.  We were almost home.  Almost to the last turn.  You guessed it, it was a right hand turn.  I told him to take the right turn but he kept moving forward, albeit slowly.  I finally told him to just go forward and we’d get out at my girlfriends house, which was up on the right.  This time, he made a left hand turn into the middle of the road (residential, thankfully).  I repeated again, “No,do not go left.  Please go straight, her home is on the right.”  He managed to angle back into the street and into her driveway.  Home at last.  Well, almost.

I still had to walk to my home.  A short jaunt, right behind my friend’s house.  I didn’t think much of it as we go back and forth between our homes all of the time.  What I wasn’t thinking about was how deep the snow was, until, I literally got stuck and nearly lost my balance.  Thank goodness I was wearing my knee high fashion boots (heaven forbid I wear something practical to go “out”) as the snow came up to my knees and down my boots, but, it could have been so much worse.  With each step, the snow seemed to grab my calves and I will admit, it was a workout to get through it.  But the good news is, I made it home.  I was appreciative there was no audience at that time of the night (morning).

So, I survived my first Uber ride.  The guy wasn’t a serial killer or anything,  he just didn’t know his right for his left.  I guess I’ll give him a 2 star rating instead of a 1.

Now, to add insult to injury, Uber charged me twice!  I’m sure we will work it all out.  I just home it’s right in time before my next ride!

Shine On!

Jill

Twists and Turns, As Always

It’s been an interesting few weeks around here.

I’ve been busy learning and loving my new job.  The weather hasn’t exactly cooperated with my commute but I’m grateful I can sometimes plan ahead to work from home.  It’s a blessing many others don’t have.

I made a trip back into school on Friday to visit some of the students and past co-workers.  They say “you can’t go home again” which I’ve found to be true in most cases but this return felt good.  It’s something I’ve been longing for.  The hugs and smiles filled up an otherwise empty pitcher.  It was good to see everyone doing so well and of course, it’s always good to know you haven’t been completley forgotten.  I work most of my hours alone now and I don’t mind it at all, in fact, there are times I quite apppreicate the solitude.  However, nothing can or will ever replace the love of and hugs of some of my favorite people on earth.

I always marvel at the timing of things.  I received a text from my ex-husband today informing me his brother had just passed away.  It wasn’t a complete surprise but it’s still very sad.  I haven’t seen Larry in many years.  His wife and I were very close and I always adored them both.  She passed away, far too young, a few years ago. They spent a few months living with us when their son was in a hospital down here while he recovered from a car accident he had while visiting the cities.  He suffered a brain injury.  There were may mornings Larry and I would sit at the table drinking coffee and doing the daily crytoquip in the daily newspaper.  It helped alleviate some stress, if only for a few brief moments.  It’s the simple memories I cherish the most.  I miss those times.

I felt I needed to inform the boy of his uncle’s passing.  A staff in his home answered the phone and asked that I identify myself.  I politely told her I was his mom.  She said “His grandmother?”  I said “No, his mom.”  Again, she said “His grandmother?”  I repeated “No, his mom.”  A third time “You’re his grandmother?”  I replied,as politely as I could, “No, I am his mother.”  Finally, the boy came to the phone and I  could hear him turn to the staff member and say “She’s not my mother in-law” to which I said, “Son, you don’t have a mother-in-law unless you got married and I don’t know about it!”  He assured me he hasn’t.  He seemed glad to hear from me and we had a fairly nice conversation.  He asked why he hasn’t heard from me and I reminded him he has, via postal mail and a few phone calls and I went on to remind him that he has not contacted his sister or me.  He seemed a bit surprised at that realization but alas, he’s done that before.  He said he’d call his dad but as of this writing, he has not.  I hold no expectations any longer but I will never lose all hope that one day, the phone will ring, and it will be the boy on the other end.

I’m going to close this with something I have always repeated to people that know my children are adopted.  I have no idea where I heard this but it is exact and to the point.  “My children weren’t born under my heart, they were born in it.”  The students at school are not my children but they shall remain in my heart forever and I thank them for sharing themselves with me.

Make sure you hug someone you love today.  Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

 

Shine On!

Jill

Tidying Up?

Have you all seen the new show on Netflix that everyone is raving about?  It’s called Tidying up with Marie.  She’s a darling little Japanese lady that goes to the homes of families to help them “tidy up” their home.

I’d heard about it on the radio.  I heard about it from friends.  It came with high recommendations.  Living in a 900 square foot town home, I am always looking for ways to streamline my storage as there isn’t much here.  After delaying seeing the show, I finally sat down with the girl to watch it.  I was sure she’d bail on me in the first 10 minutes.  But she didn’t.  Hmmm, I thought to myself, maybe she’ll learn something!  You see, I’m not the neatest person in the world but I look like it compared to her!

On with the show.  Marie entered the families home.  She seemed very sweet and kind.  The family was elated to have her there, along with her interpreter.  As we watched episode one, I first had to get myself over my distaste for the wife.  I’m sorry, but if she had said “Babe” to her husband one more time…well, I won’t go there.  I usually love terms of endearments between people but there seemed to be a lot of “attitude” behind it.  Strike one.

The first thing Marie did was to invite the family to sit on the floor with her to thank the house.  We spent what seemed like hours while they sat in silence and thanked the house.  I know I was rolling my eyes but the girl was entranced so we stayed with it.

Next up, she demonstrated some great ways to fold clothing so that you can literally stand it up in your dresser drawers.  Absolutely genius for babies clothes, teen clothes, basically, rather tiny peoples clothes and tanks, scarves and undies for the more endowed people.  I think I could use some of her ideas for towels and washcloths too, if I had a drawer to put them in.

The next challenge was huge!  They had to pull out ALL of their clothes from the closet and lay them on the bed.  Now, the husband and wife had their own closets in different bedrooms.  Let me tell you, you couldn’t see any of the bed when the wife got done with her closet.  I imagine it would be the same for the most of us.  I could get into this part if it meant putting less back into the closet.  Which they did. However, I could not buy off on the process.  Marie instructed them to hold each piece of clothing in their hands, one at a time.  If the item “sparked joy” in them, they could keep it.  If no joy was sparked, they were to thank and even kiss the item before they placed it into a donate pile. I can. not. do. that.  By the tenth or fifteenth time of hearing “spark joy,” I am unashamed to admit I was ready to pull my hair out!

From clothing, they went onto books, the kitchen and sentimental items.  The people got rid of a lot of things.  But I went to sleep chanting “spark joy.”  I woke up crabby.

The next day, the girl turned it on again. OK, I thought, perhaps I didn’t give it a fair chance so I sat down and joined her.  It basically just echoed everything from the first episode, just with a new family.  I didn’t fair any better through this one.  It caused great irritation in me.  It did NOT “spark any joy” in me so I got up and left.  The girl remained.

Today, with it being minus 53 degrees outside, I elected not to go into work. I was fearful my car wouldn’t start when it was time to come home.  The girl and I chose to have a pajama/cleaning day.  Together we cleaned the kitchen and living room.  Then it was upstairs, I scrubbed the tub and shower as she was doing laundry.  And then it happened, she needed more hangers so into her closet she went!  I was being quite snarky when I hollered out “Go through yours clothes and get rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy” within you.  I got a smart response but guess what? She did it!  She came to me with a shirt and said it doesn’t “spark joy.”  I almost threw up in my mouth but I controlled myself and said ” Yeah!  Get rid of it!”  And lo and behold, she continued the process.  Enough so, that I got to get into her closet to help her clean it up enough so we can, once again, walk into it!

So I guess I need to apologize to Marie.  In the end, the process did spark a little joy in me.  However, I won’t be tuning back in.  I’m not new age.  I’m old age.

Shine On!

Jill