“Did you try on the coat?” my mother asked.
The coat…um, which coat?
She had given me several coats and some sweaters that she decided she didn’t want anymore, so I wasn’t sure which coat she meant. I figured it must be the “expensive one” she mentioned when she handed me the pile of stuff in the school parking lot on Halloween, while I, dressed like an Oktoberfest waitress, was busy rushing off to run the party in my son’s fifth grade class.
“No, I just hung it up in the closet,” I confessed, proud that I’d even gotten that far. Normally, piles of clothes, envelopes of photos and bags of newspaper articles and various gadgets and goodies that my mom bequeaths unto me generally sit in my car for days (well, more like weeks) before I get around to finding a spot for them in the house.
Besides, all the coats she had given me were not only cute, they were free. So it didn’t matter to me how well any of them fit. I was keeping them.
“You gotta try it on,” she said, “because it was a little tight on me.” And I’d have gotten up right then and tried on the coat, whichever one it was, except that I’d just worked out and was, therefore, wearing my bulky college soccer sweatshirt. Worse, I smelled like bike grease and sweat.
I promised to try it on, hung up the phone – and promptly forgot about the whole thing.
I don’t know why such seemingly simply things are so awfully difficult for me. Why I can’t remember to try on a coat or order prints of our Disney World trip photos so my mom can make the scrapbook she’d promised us. Why I can’t remember to dig up a book that I’d offered to lend to a friend, or why, more often than not, I remember my earth-saving shopping bags that I keep in my car only after I’ve walked into the store. If even then.
And yet friends call me “organized.” They see the charts I make for the fifth grade book talk program, or the up-to-date calendar on my PDA, and they think I’ve got it altogether.
But I am only selectively organized. I can pay the mortgage on time and remember to ask someone to bring in treats for the Halloween party. But I find washed $10 bills in my own laundry, and I managed to forget to bring in the book that I was supposed to read at the Halloween party. As a result, I led my son’s classmates in a game where they made up a story one-sentence-per-kid at a time, after I’d billed it as my own spark of creative genius: “How would you like to write a story with a real author!”
I prefer to think that motherhood made a mess out of me, or at least out of my stuff and my schedule. I am too busy trying to remember to sign my son up for art classes and to make sure he gets to school early for the Business Club meeting. Or to buy the kids some winter gloves before it gets any colder, or to make a shopping list for the supermarket. Everything else just gets lost in the cracks. Or, perhaps, in the closet.
Yesterday, I finally tried on the coat, and it fit just fine. I even ordered prints of our Disney trip online. My mother will be thrilled.
But I had them sent directly to her house, or else they’d wind up sitting in my car for days (okay, weeks) along with – hey! A sweater! And a coat! I’ve got to remember to bring those inside.
Share, share: What’s the hardest thing for you to keep organized?