I have come to the undeniable conclusion that I am turning into a pack rat. (shudder) I figured that out by taking a look at the exterior of my refrigerator this morning. It had become, one bit of stuff at a time, the standard hoarding place for magnets. Under those magnets were photos, old phone numbers, ancient appointment cards from all sorts of places, bits and pieces of tools, keys, reminders, sticky notes, and plain old STUFF that should have long since gone into the rubbish bin. There were some great things on there too, like the drawings made for me by my grandchildren – two years ago, and a few of the awards Crystal got when she was doing martial arts, when we lived in Virginia – six years ago or more. But most of it was just stuff we all got too lazy to throw away.
What wasn’t on the refrigerator, was our yearly calendar – something that was a mainstay in our home for the past 41 years. Our lives went on the calendar, and when it got too busy, everyone ended up with a different color pen to write in their events, just to keep straight who I was taking to the soccer practice, and who was going to be dropped off to hang out with a friend. School assignments from the class syllabus went on there too, so I could stay on top of what next important project had to be finished first, or when a big exam was coming up. That way I could do the Mom thing, that makes our kids hate us, and nag them to get it done.
Calendars used to be important. At least they were when I was first married and then raising my boys. Now everyone has a smart phone, or PDA, or laptop, or an i Pad. Who needs something hanging on the fridge or bulletin board that has cheesy pictures or boring sayings leaching down the pages, when they can download, upload, tweet, text, FB, or set up the phone to ring an alarm to remind them of the things going on in their lives? Yet another casualty to the advent of the every changing tech world.
When I was a little girl, getting a new calendar each new year was a big deal. At first we got one from the garage where my granddad worked, but when we got old enough to know when the picture of the girls on each month were, shall we say, a bit saucy, my Grannie would get one from the grocery store for free. It was boring, and didn’t have many things worth looking at other than the food we knew we couldn’t afford.
The first time I got a calendar for Christmas, I was thrilled! I was allowed to put everyone’s birthday, important dates, and appointments in the blocks under the pretty picture. It was so exciting to be able to cross off days for big days and events. My first calendar was all about Pioneers who settled in Oklahoma and the west. Old photographs, drawings, and on the page for September, a map that I studied until the page fell out. That was when I realized the world was massive, and to find my way around I would need to understand maps. I am still a map junky. Forget Map Quest of any of the maps on line, give me a paper map with a million details and I go anywhere my dreams take me.
I’ve had calendars with cats, dogs, horses, Harley Davidson Motorcycles, cute kids, bratty kids, dolls, Scouting, guns, cartoons, castles, great writers, great artists, and much more gracing the months and edifying those who take the time to read the words on them. One of my favorites was a calendar that Riley made for me in Cub Scouts. Each month had a finger print or hand print turned into an animal on it. It was stapled at the top, and not all of the boxes were straight, but I loved that calendar and used it for the whole year.
So, this year, I bought a calendar with silly cartoon cats doing all sorts of obnoxious things. I wrote in everyone’s birthdays, added a few anniversaries, big events, and goals. Now that my refrigerator is DE-junked, I have put it on the front with huge magnets that will hold it all year. Now I feel organized and a bit more in control. Like comfort food, comfortable traditions can make our world right in the midst of change and chaos. All I have to do now, is keep everyone else from using it for the family bulletin board and a place to stick stuff they don’t want to take the time to put away.