Not one to waste all that time, I decided to do some necessary nesting. I cleaned out the top two drawers of my linen cabinet so I can put baby towels, burp cloths, and wash cloths in there. What was in those drawers that I haven't opened in over a decade? Cassette tapes and odd framed pictures from my high school years - an 8x10 of The Beatles, a photo from a magazine of Tom Waits, an odd little drawing I did of U2's drummer. After carting these things around for almost 25 years, I quite gleefully tossed them in the garbage.
Then I tackled my hallway closet, also piled high with junk I haven't even thought about in over a decade. I threw out all my crappy bootleg VHS tapes and boxed up the real ones for donation. I kept all the dance performance stuff, my film school film projects, and of course any family stuff. Just the bootleg tapes alone filled almost ten garbage bags!!! I also decided to sell nearly all of my DVDs - most of which have never even been opened. I can't even remember the last time I sat down to watch a DVD - now that I have streaming video from Netflix on my Roku box, what's the point?
I took a deep breath and sorted through hundreds of cassettes - all from the early eighties - late nineties. So, basically, my entire youth. And being such an obsessive music fan, there's a LOT of it. But honestly, I long ago replaced nearly all of it with digital files on my iPod. I do still listen to most of the favorite music of my younger years - The Beatles, U2, The Smiths, Beck, Jimi Hendrix. But as mentioned, it's all stored on my iPod now, and my favorites are on my phone. Again, why hang on to these space-sucking things? Another five garbage bags.
There was a certain poignancy to seeing the shelves that had been filled with my girlhood now filled with diapers and breast pump supplies and things for not just the current baby but the new baby. Add this to the dramatic changes with our home life lately and I'm really feeling like this is it - this is what real parenthood is. It's putting away those old, useless parts of yourself that you would have otherwise clung to, and embracing the new.
I still have this image of myself walking into that hospital a year and a half ago as a girl and emerging as a woman. It was a death and a birth all in the same moment. But as Nina Davenport's birth coach tells her in her SMC documentary "First Comes Love", that even though she will have a baby, the new mother in her will be "slow to emerge". I think about this a lot. I don't think the mother in me has emerged entirely yet. But letting go of those things today - and a lot of the pain/drama/heartache those things carry with them - was a major step.