“WHERE ARE MY SOCCER CLEATS?”
My youngest child couldn’t find his cleats and he had to leave for soccer practice five minutes ago. We scoured every box in every room. No cleats. He went in his normal everyday sneakers which I’m told is a really big deal and will likely land him a stern talk from the Coach.
Two days later in a box marked “kitchen” not once, but FOUR times, I found his cleats. You could say we stopped labeling properly towards the end there.
Moving is hard. It’s up there with death and divorce. I don’t know if that is overstating or not, but I can see the correlation between moving and divorce for sure. Possibly even death. What with all the tripping on boxes, bumping into misplaced furniture, and I don’t know, MURDERING your spouse.
Packing for a move forces you to question all of your life choices. All. of. Them. Why have we moved a dozen times over the course of our marriage? Are we placing roots if we keep relocating? Why don’t our kids seem phased by another move? Do you think they will have commitment issues? And most importantly, WHY in the actual hell do we have so many mother loving soccer balls?!?!? I devoted at least two boxes and a bin to soccer balls alone. Does this seem abnormal to anyone else?
The aftermath isn’t much prettier. Your new home is a wreckage of boxes and random piles that defy logic or category. A few brave souls offer to enter your chaos and help. You don’t wish this misery on your worst enemy, let alone someone you love, but you can’t deny you need the help. You let them in.
Through a haze of dust bunnies and new paint smell, they see the real you. Your broken toys, your mismatched socks, your dirty underwear in the clean laundry pile (oops), your clean sheets in the dirty pile, your unopened bills ( Uh- we pay online?), your too big collection of vases, and a few cd’s circa 1998 that you’re are still hauling around for some reason. It’s enough to make you want to crawl in a wardrobe box.
This is the moment when your friend realizes you are just a cleat in a kitchen box. Stay with me. Somewhere along the way, our boxes gets mislabeled. It matters little whether it was of our own doing or someone else’s. We try to appear presentable and clearly labeled like a box of dishes marked “kitchen.” I am this. Put me here. But if you peek inside just a little, or if we open up ourselves all the way up, the story is usually very different and we are often in the wrong place.
You can get angry about this. "Damn you cleat, you said you were dishes! You looked like dishes and felt like dishes!" This might feel good, but it won't change anything. The cleat is still just a cleat staring back at you like, "Bro, I'm meant to be on the field, I don't even know why I'm here right now."
Some of us might even look fancy like a storage bin in a seasonal color. "Wow, she must really have her stuff together. Look at her matching lid and streamlined shape. She would fit in anywhere. I could never be a bin..." When inside, there’s just a stacks of papers she hasn’t gone through since 2008 and a bike pump. She doesn’t even have a bike.
Take care of your box. (By box I mean you. Are you getting this metaphor?) If you aren’t sure how to clearly communicate what’s in your box, it’s ok to say "Miscellaneous." Or, "Still figuring it out".
And I think all our boxes no matter what is inside, should be marked FRAGILE, Please handle with care.