Last Saturday we cleaned the garage. After two trash cans and a truck bed full of garbage was removed, I was left with access to the bicycles, a new potting station, a beer refrigerator that you could actually use and a lot of memories.
Among the items in our garage, where many pieces of unused furniture. I have trouble getting rid of things that I paid for... or that were gifted to me from members of my family. I also have trouble realizing that our house is tiny and all my shit simply doesn't fit inside.
As I removed the dust from my great grandmother's bedroom vanity, I looked at the scratched finish. She passed away when I was nine and I can still taste the coffee cake that she always brought to family gatherings. The furniture had been placed in my pre-teen bedroom not long after she died. It came with an upright dresser and I was so excited to have the beautiful antiques in my very own room. As an awkward adolescent, I spent an embarrassing amount of time staring into the mirror of that vanity, wondering if I would ever be pretty... wondering if I would ever get boobs... wondering who I would grow up to be. I hung strips of lace from the mirror and attached all my earrings to it. I tucked pictures of special people under the little yellowed plastic parts that held the mirror in place. I danced and sang in my red unitard as it patiently watched me.
The top of the vanity had a botched spot in the finish where I had spilled nail polish remover as a teenager- an event that had made me cry (both the accident and the teenager.) There were many other scratches, signifying the multiple moves the dresser had made with me. Moves in my 20's, to the little blue cabin tucked away in the Ponderosa Pines on the side of a mountain and the sterile townhome plastered onto the sparse landscape of the Colorado's western slope, where my life took a downward spiral. There were claw marks from my naughty black kitten. There were scrapes and dings from each time the vanity bounced around in the bed of my truck or the back of a friend's horse trailer- making yet another relocation. It was covered in years of dirt from being moved out to the garage when I was preparing the space that it occupied in my house for the arrival of my first baby. Seven years it sat patiently, being neglected, waiting for that "addition" I like to dream about. Then reality kicked in and I called my cousin to ask her if she had room for it in her house. It was a family heirloom, and she was family. Plus, my shithole garage was overflowing with unused stuff and I needed to make some space for our camping equipment.
Crammed on a high shelf, above the many treasures of our lives, I discovered my bassinet- the creamy, handled basket with it's peachy plaid liner, in which I nestled both of my boys as newborns. On its delicate wooden stand, I rocked their tiny bodies to sleep. In my nervous, hormonal filled, postpartum state, I had hovered over the basket- watching for the rise and fall of their chests- and never feeling more relief than when I saw that little blanket move. The bassinet had many memories of precious new lives, as I had also loaned it to three friends with new babies. There was a lot of love in that bassinet- I couldn't possibly get rid of it, so I peeled the garage-sale price tag from last summer off of it and carried it into the house. I set it on one twin bed in the room that my boys share and ran my hand over the soft pad on the bottom. My uterus panged and I briefly thought about having another baby. My eyes began to well up with tears, so I grabbed a bunch of stuffed animals, rammed them into that bassinet, set it at the foot of my kid's bed and left the room. Mama ain't got time for all that emotional shit.
Later we found a dead mouse, our air mattress, my glue gun that I had been missing for three years and the actual floor of the garage, which we hadn't seen since we bought this "2-year flip house" 10 years ago.
Next stop, I plan to take another walk down memory lane in my closet. But first, I need to meander out to that garage and grab a cold beer.