To call my family “counter-intuitive” is, in some way which I do not yet–and may never–fully understand, some sort of compliment. I believe.
Take, for example, the day I posted my first blog announcing my intentions to take the 100 Thing Challenge. No sooner did the proverbial ink dry on my site, than my mother showed up on my doorstep with bins full of my childhood memories from her attic. Who does that? These are items I can clearly live without, since I have not laid eyes on most of them for several decades. Wonderful, I thought. I’ll just set those bins in the laundry room while I decide what to do with the rest of my Minimal Challenge. To be fair, I tell myself that she was so motivated by the words I typed that day that she embarked on a minimal challenge of her own. Can’t blame myself for being too inspirational. Besides, I decided to see my childhood crap and raise her two TRUCK LOADS of yard sale donations, because frankly, I was too lazy to host my own sale. It all worked out in the end.
But, not two weeks after Mom showed up to shower me with treasures, my sister-in-law showed up on my doorstep with boxes full of “craft supplies” for my children. When I say “showed up on my doorstep,” I literally mean exactly that … unannounced. No call first to ask–would you be interested in some very small beads for your children to string on to thin rubber strings, so as to turn choking hazards into strangulation hazards? No, just shows up with boxes of beads in every color of the rainbow … delivered just before nap time, to get my kids all riled up about craft time. Who does that? I suppose, I reasoned … threading beads is good for a preschoolers’ dexterity. But it didn’t take long for me to be reminded exactly why I had not already invested in beads for our craft cupboards … that is because if my children are going to repeatedly spill anything on my hardwood floors, I would prefer it be something that my DOG CAN EAT. Oh well. The beads kept them busy for a couple of days this summer. Until I came downstairs one afternoon to find that they’d been cutting the SPOOLS of brightly colored rubber string into six-inch confetti-like pieces with their safety scissors. To surprise me. With a party, they said. That was the end of that. No sooner did I wade through the ankle-deep plastic strings than I set my children to work stringing Christmas gifts for their aunt. Necklaces. Bracelets. Key Chains. Garlands. I believe that what goes around comes around, and I think it would be selfish of us to keep all of these lovely beaded works of art to ourselves.
Oh well, that’s just my quirky family, I thought. And continued on my path toward minimization. Until a couple of weeks ago when a completely different sister-in-law from another state came to visit. She and I talk often. I share with her the challenges of minimizing, and she shares with me the challenges of maximizing. But then the day before she was on her way out for a visit, she called to tell me how inspired she has been by my blog. She loves to read these stories about how I’m clearing out the nooks and crannies, and it just motivated her to spend a week minimizing her bedroom … hauling away bags of clothes and kids toys. A kindred spirit, if you will. Then, in the very next breath, she tells me about how she stopped by the Dollar Store to buy party favors for all of the cousins. And by cousins, she means my children. She starts detailing the riches she’s found … coloring books and sidewalk chalk, costumes and magic tricks, candy and bubbles, paintable magnets and play-dough, stickers and “stuff” I don’t even know how to describe. So, that’s her plan. Drive 300 miles to visit me in my freshly-minimized house, claiming to have been inspired by my downsizing efforts, and bring with her dollars and dollars worth of “stuff” for my children. Who does that?
My family does that. And so, I have to tell you … I’ve been cleaning out my laundry room today … tripping over bins of my childhood toys, landing barefoot on tiny little beads that spilled all over the floor, and finding bags of “art supplies” my children will never miss. Except for the supplies I saved … to start crafting family heirlooms for the holidays. Who does that? I do.
Merry Christmas. And, you’re welcome.