Too Much Stuff

by Kiran

There just seems to be so much stuff.

It’s in a jumble. Some bits pile on top of others. Some bits get forced out. Many are buried—for ages—and forgotten completely until there’s the urgent need to recall them. Many are filed, to be called on only when absolutely necessary.

Other bits, the less significant and only partially forgotten ones, wake me up in the night. I feel their weight around me, the pressure of them on my chest as I wake with a start. Her 2-year checkup—I didn’t change reschedule it.

Other bits of information come rolling into my consciousness in a rush at this 3:30 a.m. wake-up—unbidden. Where were these bits when I needed them? When I forgot it was Tuesday and I needed to make his packed lunch. When I forgot to fill out the form for the school trip that was today. When I forgot the buggy and her raincoat. When I didn’t send that email. When I forgot the list where I’d written half of it down, but not all of it anyway.

There just seems to be so much stuff to hold onto in my mind. There are packed lunch days and birthday parties and medical checkups and getting us all out early on some days while also remembering my own yoga mat and not dropping him off because it’s an inset day and sorting out child care on the extra day because we’ve got something to go to, but I can’t remember what and maybe today is the wrong day anyway. I didn’t write the other thing on the calendar.

And so I don’t send the thank you cards or change the doctor’s appointment, and I forget to send the text, and I don’t check my messages all week, and I didn’t mean to ignore you, and no, I’ve not listened to the voicemail yet. But one day when I’m more awake when the day is done, I’ll do my tax return and tidy up the drawer under the microwave. Next Wednesday—as long as he doesn’t go to bed too late and she doesn’t wake up wanting to get in to bed with me too early.

There just seems to be so much stuff. It’s getting away from me, not so slowly, not so unnoticed. It’s moving away from the places in my mind I can reach and know and feel on top of. All these bits, floating around and tormenting me. I know I’m forgetting things. I know I can’t keep on top of it all, this life, but I don’t know how to grab everything and scoop it up and keep it close without it feeling like too much.

Is this what it is to have two small people to care for. Is this how it should be? To feel like I’m never across it all. To make mistakes about things that matter. To forget things that matter. To run out of time and space to keep on track with it all. This life.

It just feels like there’s too much to hold on to. At 4 a.m. when some of it laughs at me in the dark. The phone calls I didn’t make. The lists I didn’t write. The spare clothes I didn’t pack. The nursery bag I left behind. The bunny that is lost.

I’m trying to grab these ends of the pieces of our lives and pull them in and keep them close. But they’re getting away from me. Is this just how it is? A gradual crumbling of order. A slow descent into a less organized life. I’m going to fight it. I’m tired, but the stuff, the organizing, the lists, the appointments, it won’t win. This is the stuff that counts now. I’ve just got to find a way to keep hold of it all—in the right order. Today, tomorrow, and next month when it still matters.