Friday, May 18, 2012

Up To My Ears In Paper!

School is almost out for summer, and I for one, couldn't be happier.  Sure I like getting some one on one time with the with my 3 year old and I also love that my kids get just enough separation each day  that they actually miss each other, but I'm thrilled school is over.  Why you ask?

The PAPERS!!!!!!!!  I can't take it anymore!  Every single day my kid comes home and I open her school folder to find a minimum of 5 papers.  That doesn't sound like much but 5 papers a day makes roughly 100 papers a month.......times that by 9 months and I have too damn much paper here.  I'm certain an entire forest was decimated just to get my child through kindergarten.  I wish we went back to some old school Little House on the Prairie style chalk boards.  Each kid does their work on an individual chalk board, teacher checks it and it's magically gone!  Laura Ingles wasn't lugging home 1000 papers a year for her mother to store in the barn.

It's overwhelming and I only have 1 kid in school!  I want to throw it all in the recycling bin and rejoice in the paper purge, but I can't.  No, I'm not a hoarder, but I am a mother and I don't have a clear of idea of what can go and what needs to be saved.  

There are a few schools of thought on this subject.  There is the one idea (let's be honest, it's the natural born hoarders idea) that every piece of paper your child touches a crayon to, is suddenly very important and very sentimental and MUST BE SAVED!  Twenty years later, you're a recluse and the producers of "Hoarders" come knocking at your door.......but you can't answer the door because there is a huge pile of papers and some QVC packages blocking the doorway.  Bummer!

Then there is the other side that thinks "It's just paper and no one will ever need it and it's ludicrous to save every scribble!"  This argument will save you the drama of sorting and storing a boat load of paper.  And I hate to say this, but someday you will die and NO ONE is going to want to sit in your storage room going through a million papers from pre-K to high school graduation.  NO ONE!  So why save it?  Someone is going to chuck it all eventually.  Why not me?  Why not now?

I fall in the middle, the guilt ridden category.  I have no choice but to recycle 75% of it.  I can't deal with the thought of keeping every last scrap.  So here is where the guilt comes in.  I have to sort of judge what I think is worthy of the "Save Pile".  I almost always favor the really personalized pieces.  If she was "free stylin", I have to keep it.  I love the pictures where she draws what ever she wants and she writes what ever she's thinking.  Around St. Patricks day, she was had to decorate a pot of gold and write what she'd do if she ever found a pot of gold.  She wrote this, "If I found a pot of gold, I'd put it in my room."  She sort of missed the point, but I loved where her head was at.  That was a keeper for me.  I have no sentimental connection to random homework papers that focus on repetition.   I don't think I'll be an old lady who tears up at the site of my kids math test.

All that being said, I do feel a bit bad about this.  Who am I to judge?  But on the other hand, last Christmas my mom gave me a huge bag of my school work and I wanted to trash it, but I reluctantly put it in my basement.  I didn't really save it because I treasure it, I saved it in case my mom needs it.  I have all the memories I need of my school days and all the good memories have nothing to do with the paper work.  It's really just the experiences and the friendships that mean anything to me.  Lucky for me, all of that packs very neatly into my brain tissue and I don't have to stress about moving it from one house to another or finding an appropriate storage spot.

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