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Cleaning

October 26, 2008

Today I made a start at cleaning my office, something I’ve been meaning to do for a very long time, for over a year at least – procrastination is an art form I excel at, unfortunately. This is the room that would have been Teddy’s, and it is the room where all of his things are. In fact, the nearly overwhelming clutter has very nicely camouflaged the car seat, the bag of baby clothes and books, the pack n’ play, the co-sleeper, the crib mattress, and the memory boxes. Nothing can camouflage the hand and feet castings, but even they command a bit less attention with everything around them in disarray.

But I have a lovely desk, a gift from N from before we were married, and I miss sitting at it, miss seeing the surface of it. And I missed having a place all my own in our house. While I would have given it up, this room of my own, more than willingly for Teddy (I was even contemplating whether or not my beloved desk would do for a changing table), my office was turning into a messy shrine.  The camouflage of clutter was starting to fail me, and it hurt us to look through the doorway.

So today, I unpacked and threw away most of the contents of two boxes, boxes that have traveled with me from college, to grad school, to the big city, to this rural college town. I threw away old letters to old friends that I never mailed and tossed out old birthday and holiday cards. I packed away clothes and blankets, sorted through knick-knacks, and then dusted off my beautiful desk.

The baby things are still here, but most are neatly stacked in a corner, where they look more deliberate and less desperate somehow.  I put the hand castings in the closet, though.  I want to look at them, but not all of the time; sometimes I cannot remind myself of him enough but sometimes his loss is everywhere and the reminders are at once redundant and painful. I did leave the casting of his tiny feet on the shelf over my desk. I can see his wrinkly little heels as I write this. The cutest little feet in the world, I swear to you.

And for now that’s what feels right.

We have a long way to go, my office and me.  The closet needs sorting, and there are still two bags of assorted paperwork and old mail to weed through and organize.  Vacuuming wouldn’t hurt, either.  Maybe someday it will be the room of another baby, or not.

For now, though, I’ve made a space for myself.  And on this chilly October night I sit in my office, at my desk, writing and reading, settling into my space again in this room that was once completely mine. I share it now.  And while I’m no where near saying that it’s okay, this sharing that isn’t enough, not nearly enough, there’s a strange sort of peace to it. And hey, I’ll take any peace that I’m given.

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