Sunday, April 27, 2008

It's like a sickness

I have a dream. I have a dream that I am an organized parent with a full set of craft supplies and an endless list of imaginative activities that please and delight my children. I have a dream that we spend countless hours gathered together, rejoicing in each other and the products of our skilled hands.

The sad truth is I've been a failure. I haven't lived up to this ideal. We have plenty of craft supplies, but they are not well-organized. When I am in the mood to get crafty, the kids usually aren't. When they are in the mood to get crafty, it's inevitably a bad time for me.

I subscribed to Family Fun when my son was one, in 1998, and I've been getting it ever since. I have saved every issue. It's like a sickness. At first I filed them in a magazine box in the order received, but as the years went by and the collection grew, I rearranged them by month, so that all the Decembers were together (Christmas ideas!), all the Octobers were together (Halloween ideas!), and so on. To be fair with myself, we have done many of the crafts and activities with excellent results, and we have tried many of the recipes, several of which have become family traditions, but we haven't tried all of them, and I feel like it's my job as a mom not to let any of the unused ideas get away.

Last summer I decided it was time to purge, time to recycle the magazines and reclaim the space they were eating up. But before I could do that, I leafed through a couple of issues, just for old time's sake. Oops. I found I couldn't let it go. I couldn't get rid of all those cute ideas we hadn't yet had a chance to try. So I started a file instead, something I should have done from the start. I ripped out pages, stapled them together, filed them away. But the process has been painstakingly slow, and almost a year later I still have a sizeable stack of back issues to go through, not to mention the 8 or so new issues that have landed in my mailbox since I started this project.

I ask myself why I can't just recycle these, why I must read through them one more time and find things to save. I know much of the magazine's content is online, and it would be easy to find things with a click of a mouse. I can't explain this need of mine to hang on, other than to think that it's all part of that dream I have, and that I can't let it go because that's admitting defeat, or that it's admitting that my children are getting older faster than I want them to, and that maybe we don't have time to do all the things I want to do with them. If I hang on to the ideas, I'm making a promise with myself that we'll get to do it all.