I have been a mom for a while now.  Well, four years.  Which feels like a while.  But probably not to a mother with a 21 year old.  So, I guess I’ve just been a mom for four years now.  Plus the pregnancy, if you want to count that.

In those four years, we have had four Christmases.  Eight birthday parties…  ummm 4 plus 3 plus 1….  yes, eight.     Put the calculator back down, my math skills are still razor sharp.  We have had four Valentine’s Days, Easter’s, Halloweens, and other various holidays.  That is a lot of celebrating.

And way too many gifts.  Trinkets.  Goody bag fillers.  And so on.

Way. Too. Many!

How do I know it is too much?  Because there is not one solid surface of this house that does not reek of a child’s party, holiday gift – or remnants thereof, or present for some occasion or another.  Like when it is Thursday and they just get something.

We have stuff in cabinets, under cabinets, stuck to cabinets, laying next to cabinets, and on top of cabinets.  Things fall out of doors when they are opened, and not just because I push the kids through them.

Just kidding, just kidding…  we use open windows for that.

Shelves are littered with some nick- nack or another that they got for St Patrick’s day when they were two weeks old that we have to keep because it is a memory and we’ll forget everything else but at least we’ll remember the breast milk they puked that day present.

No.  I am really not kidding.

See, my husband, and by my husband I mean me –  is a bit of a hoarder.  Not hard core.  We do not have to eat our bologna from the ceiling fan because we can not see our floors.  But we keep a lot of stuff.  There are various reasons for his – my – need to hang onto things.  But that is a whole other post and I already spent all of my money on a therapist so I could say, “I will not let it define my life”, so to bring it up here would open a can of worms held together with old, yellowed tape.  And I can not afford the therapy again.  So, we’ll move on.

Despite his – my – unnatural attachment to things, I do make a promise every single year to get it under control.  Not the throwing things away, which feel I do all of the time. Unless Megan might need it one day.  Or it reminds me of the day they ate the dolls hand off.  Or I think it has a memory attached even though I can not recall it at the time.  We do take the trash out twice a day.  I promise.  And it does not only consist of banana peels and ice cream cartons either.

Just today I threw away three coloring books…  I know… that one did have that picture Katie drew when she was in her room at her drawing desk that time.  So I probably should go dig it out of the trash, huh?  Ok, so I threw away two coloring books, umpteen crayons in various stages of tortured brokenness, and several books with pages missing, spines removed, and black marker over the words.  I tossed old McDonald’s toys, even the ones that would fetch .50c on Ebay, old flash cards,  hair from a doll I can’t find-  I did not want to analyze that one, and even… sniff…  old socks.

I did.  It felt good.  Cleansing.  Organized.

Until they opened another cabinet.

So, yet again, this year, like every single year, I make an oath.  Right hand to the Visa.  I will not be buying these children anything else all year!  Friends, family, birthday party visitors, neighbors, and other parties can shower them until their hearts are content.

But me?  I am done.  We need not one more solitary item in this house.

Well… except the Leapster we ordered for Sarah.

And the two games that go with it.

And the floor puzzle Katie will really love.

And the baby doll that really pees for Megan.  I don’t know where we will put her since both baby cribs are full of bobbing baby doll heads.  I really don’t even know how Megan sleeps in there next to them.  ‘Cause it is kinda creepy.

But anyone.  This one pees!

But that’s it.  Nothing else.  Until Valentine’s.

But that is IT!

No.  Really.

You don’t believe me??

Hmmm – you must know me.