I’ve been hating my living room for months now – something’s been off for ages and I couldn’t put my finger on it, so this weekend we started Project UnSuckify The Living Room (Hey Mr. E: We’ve started Project UnSuckify the Living Room) and I moved in a area rug and sold some crap on Craigslist and conceptualized some new curtains and some built ins. I shoved a bookshelf across the room and since Mr. E refused to let me just leave it full of books and let the books fall where they may, I had to unload it before shoving it ten feet and so behind some books on the third shelf I found a box of pictures – prints that BFF Sara had taken of Eli’s first few moments in this world as well as some pictures of his nursery a few hours before his first few moments in the world.
Looking at those photographs of his picture perfect nursery reminded me a of a moment – sometime right after the last ABC poster had been hung and the last little outfit had been lovingly placed in a drawer. Mr. E was in shock at the amount of time and money I’d poured into the nursery quietly admiring all my hard work and he dug a little green polka dotted receiving blanket out of the tote where I’d stored them – carefully folded and ordered and sorted, and then he casually put it back, but turned the wrong way.
I darted across the room and corrected the orientation so that all the receiving blankets were lined up correctly again, the corners neat, the smooth edges facing up, the cutest ones toward the front of the tote, and Mr. E looked at me, shaking his head, and said “You SO need to have five boys.”
But two years and some change later, I’ve realized something. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure it out, but the fact of the matter is, this is who I am. I am a perfectionist, a receiving blanket straightener. I line up the tea bags while I wait for my latte at Starbucks, and it doesn’t matter what you think of me, it doesn’t matter how many pills I take or how many eye rolls you throw my way or how many kids I end up having. I am hard wired this way. There will never be anything, any amount of children, that makes me not care how the towels are folded, how the receiving blankets are lined up in the tote. Because I don’t end up caring less. I just end up frustrated that I don’t have the time or the energy or the free hands I need to do things the right way, my way.
There’s probably some talk therapy out there, some perfectionist treatment that could make me care less. I could zap my wrist with a rubber band every time I thought about my linen closet. Maybe I could have five boys and see how that works out for me.
But I am starting to think maybe it’s just easier to admit that this is who I am. To smile when other people roll their eyes. To laugh when Mr. E shakes his head. And to keep right on straightening the towels, lining up edges with the best of them.
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