There is an episode of Oprah that I saw a couple of years ago that really stuck out in my mind.
The episode wasn't about cleaning. It wasn't about being organized.
It was about financial security.
Although what I remember most about the show has nothing to do with finances.
In fact, it went much deeper than that. In a candid, no script moment, Oprah was standing in a very nice motor home that was owned by a couple that had purchased it for their retirement. The couple was asking financial advice about making their retirement money last as long as possible.
However, as Oprah was admiring their home on wheels, she instinctively opened up their cabinets. Realizing what she had just done....and realizing that this wasn't a motor home sitting on a lot, this was some one's traveling home....she quickly closed them and turned to them and said, "Well, your cabinets are clean. Perfect order. It doesn't surprise me. People who truly have it together in finances...but more importantly, in life...have clean cabinets."
OK. That may not be earth moving to you, but stay with me.
She went on to draw a comparison to people and their homes.
Some people whose homes are cluttered, chaotic, and a mess....are, well, usually inhabited by people whose lives are, well, a mess.
And, then she described me. Yep. Me. She went on to say that some peoples houses look clean on the surface, but they have "junk drawers" or their closet is messy.
Yep. That is me.
And I totally get it.
On the surface of my life, the part that everyone sees, I appear to have it together. But in the darker corners of my being...most of the time I am a complete mess. Kind of like the drawer by the phone. TOTAL MESS.
If you have read this blog for long I doubt you are surprised.
This weekend, not only were the "closets and drawers" of my being a complete mess, but so was my surface.
I thought I did pretty good when getting everything ready for the shower. I had lists. I checked them twice.
I loaded up everything early and was running, surprisingly, on time.
I made all my stops and God seemed to be listening to my prayers as I noticed the sky lighten and the rain ceased.
However, as the time grew near and I made my fifth trip from the car to the basement where the shower was being held, my steadiness and assurance was running thin.
People started arriving, along with the guest of honor. She was glowing and looked beautiful.
She and I had became friends when I was in college. We worked together at the bank and quickly hit it off. She got me....really, got me. She was there for me at times when no one else could be. She was frank, honest, and understanding.
She had seen my junk drawer.
I needed her and she was good for me.
Years passed and we remained close and as time took us to different jobs, and life took us on different paths we stayed in touch.
However, phone calls that would last for hours, turned into phone calls that were lucky to last ten minutes once I had kids.
My time no longer belonged to me.
As life does, it kept moving along and we moved with it, our paths seemingly farther and farther apart.
When the news came that she was expecting I was thrilled. I couldn't have been happier. I wanted to throw her a shower and, as you know, I did.
Her shower was a living reminder of how life moves on. At her shower were new faces and new friends.....
This era of her life made me feel like a stranger.
Driving home I thought about how my life had changed. Living in a different town, working at a different place and now, having kids in a different school, has allowed me to make new friends as well. I am not sure how it all happened, but it did.
We had both changed.
Many of my new friends only know the "Kim" I am now. Many of them haven't seen my "junk drawers", or my "messy closets".
For some reason they think I have it together.
Once home, I started getting everything out of the truck and bringing it inside. Trip after trip. More and more items being deposited on my kitchen table to be put up. As I made the final trip in, I started through the house to change my clothes to put everything away. I got as far as the living room before it hit me. The house was in complete disarray.
I looked all around me and nowhere was there order.
It felt like the turmoil of the last two months finally caught up with me. Inside AND out.
Like a crazy woman...... I lost control.
L had went to stay with a friend so B got the brunt of my wrath.
"PICK THIS UP!" I shouted as I pointed to the toys.
I turned to start clearing out everything I had brought in. Changing would have to wait. B looked at me and said, "Can I have some milk?"
Feeling as if he totally ignored my passionate plea, I once again found myself yelling.
"NO! NOT UNTIL YOU PICK THIS UP!"
Moments later, after some what we will call "directing", he went to his room, crying.
Still in my heels I frantically put everything away, swept the floor, mopped the kitchen, and grabbed clean sheets to change B's bed.
Since things were back "in order", so was the clarity of my thinking.
I needed to get his bed re-made and most importantly, I needed to apologize.
I entered his room to find him on his sheetless bed, with one of his newborn baby blankets draped perfectly over his four year old body, stuffed dog under his arm, sound asleep.
The sight took away my breath and before it could return, tears stung my eyes.
I crawled onto his bed and kissed his sleeping face. I stroked his cheek and while crying, told him how much his mommy loved him. I took his hands and stared at them. So much bigger than it seemed they were just days before.....and yet so small.
And still, I cried.
That is how Steven found me. Crying on B's bed while he slept.
Crying because of time lost, changed friendships, lost tempers, compulsions, growing kids, mother's guilt, inadequacies, deep love and deep hurt.
Trying to not push me any farther, he gently said, "I think that you may have taken on a little too much the last couple of months..... Please tell me that you haven't lined up anything else, or taken on anything else? You are overwhelmed....you need to relax."
I was so thankful in that moment for a husband who seemed to understand.....and who placed no blame.
He could have pointed his finger at me and you know what? I would have deserved it.
However, had I been able to stop the tears I probably would have laughed at his use of the word, "relax".
He knows me better than that.
Now, two days later, I can feel the tension beginning to ease.
I am starting to feel as if things are more in my control....that is what it is all about, isn't it? Control?
Or is it the illusion of it?
In fact, I am beginning to doubt that Oprah knew what she was talking about. It is funny that at a time when I was falling apart, when I was mentally "out of order".....my actual closets and actual junk drawer were literally clean.
I don't think that is a coincidence.
I think that when I can accept the disorder and chaos that life hands me, then I will finally be in order...inside and out.