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Mastering the Trash Can

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Yes, while the rest of you mothers are on top of your game, I am drowning in trash. Food and plastic refuse litter my once clean house, a domain where I long ago was queen. My subjects have overtaken me and unlike Snow White, I am too old, tired and/or lazy to clean up after my wards. I have grown use to the empty wrappers in our pantry snack bins as even I recognize the necessity to hide a fruit roll up binge. Candy wrappers under the bed are as commonplace as missing socks and Lego people. I can even shrug off the empty drinkable yogurts complete with straws that are scattered casually around our family room floor, like tempting bowling pins.


Now what I struggle with is downright knowledgeable and unthinkable destruction by three children who should know better. In an effort to be rested to make better healthful choices, I recently took a wonderful Sunday afternoon nap. I awoke to surprising quiet and nervously made my downstairs to find my daughter almost upside down on our hand-me-down leather couch. Neatly placed on the table beside her were a finished ring pop, 1/2 eaten bag of Ritz Bits, a roll of almost gone Ritz crackers and the remnant of a green apple. On the other end of the couch was a coating, a rain shower really, of at least a dozen smushed saltine crackers.


Now I was forced to ask questions, as this was beyond even my grossly low standards of acceptability. Our daughter Blair reported, almost gleefully, that the cracker refuse belonged to brother Russell. As an afterthought that actually might have been planned, she mentioned that she had, “told him to eat those crackers in the kitchen.” She who owned the apple core, ring pop, and Ritz bits. I guess in her defense, she had gathered up these items and placed them on the table. Again, why do people in my house often confuse the bathroom floor or tables for trash cans? A quick clean up of the scattered litter items, a walk in the windy sunshine, Epiphany service and bedtime completed finally allowed me to prepare for peaceful calm. As I made my way to my cozy chair and eagerly sat down to write, I started to type and looked over to now see Thomas, my husband, lounging beside the pile of strewn crackers.


This was a moment of reckoning. I pondered what to say, if anything. As I mulled this over, I noticed a strong smell of poop circling me. I glanced around still contemplating the cracker explosion and began typing earnestly on my latest post, filled with emotion. I glanced up, witnessing husband Thomas alternate between watching the Wolfpack play basketball and playing a soccer video game on the iPad.I subtly exhaled my annoyance and still the poop aroma distracted me from remembering therange of emotions I had experienced over 25 years ago. Ah ha! The guilty party, a poopy diaper nestled in the small of my back, hidden in my writing chair. I glanced again at the crackers and chucked the diaper into the front hall. If you can't beat em’, join em’. I had in that moment chosen the high road, and sat quite contentedly surrounded by food remnants and dirty diapers while I continued to remember and type away my sadness.


How do I get them to make the choice of using a trash can? How can I tackle organization when throwing away trash is seemingly beyond our reach?

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