Real Life Mama: The year’s first sparrow sighting

In trying to play catch up with all the January resolutions – which I did not make this year because I was still exhausted from the holidays — I decided to instead just make a list of things that I was hoping to do or accomplish. At the very top of my list, the first thing that came to mind was my basement.

Sure, I had lots of other ideas like spending more intentional time with my girls, making more me time to pray and talk with God, along with cleaning out bathroom closets (because ugh) and my front closet (also ugh). Yet, at the very top of my list sat my basement. Double ugh.

Ten years I have been in this house now. Ten years! You wouldn’t believe all the stuff that I had accumulated. Two kids, all the hand-me-downs of toys, clothes, books, shoes, etc. On top of that, some family members downsizing or passing away and items that one day I would surely use wound up in my basement.

It was suffocating. Like, run upstairs and slam the door behind you to escape. It was overwhelming in a sense that knowing where to start was pretty much numbing. I knew I needed to get through it – I wanted to have a basement again – I just did not want to even begin the process.

Funny how those sparrows work. Also, the reason I missed last week’s article. When I sat down to write it, at the last minute of course, I was informed that the basement floor was soaked. At that moment, my heart sank. Wonderful. What a time for the sump pump to malfunction – I mean, especially since my bank account is still bleeding from the holidays.

On top of that, what seemed like a dauntingly overwhelming task before exploded into a mountain of anxiety over something I could no longer put off. It no longer was a choice – it had to be done now.

Like he always does, Lee came through with a dumpster in my driveway by the very next day. While I still had to work from home, he was able to take the day off and got started. He quickly went to town assessing the situation and fixed the problem. Then, box by box, he brought up items for me to make decisions on.

For clarification, we are not talking about a foot of water here – but just enough to saturate the entire floor. And while I would have gotten to it after I was finished working for the day – I would have dug in and gotten my hands dirty – he actually told me that he preferred to bring things to me and make piles – things salvageable and just taking up space in the basement that could go to the attic and things that need to go to the “green attic” also known as the dumpster.

Piece by piece in every single box, he pulled each item out and displayed them to me. You guys, I honestly do not even know where half of this stuff came from! However, he made the most fun out of it – decluttering and making things pristine is pretty much his jam. Ha! He modeled extra small clothing that should have been gone years ago and even posed in a sombrero (again, no idea). He giggled with delight when I would choose the “green attic” and he could pitch things.

He carefully went through some items left behind from Paul – and made nice and neat piles for him to come pick up.

He didn’t make me choose on any of my wedding memorabilia – to him, they were all no-brainer keepers – and I didn’t have to feel bad about it. He just neatly boxed it back up – a part of me that I will never just throw away.

This man went on and on until 4 a.m. the next morning clearing and breaking down and cleaning my entire basement – getting rid of items that didn’t make it as well as broken and old toys that my girls haven’t even noticed were missing. The next morning, I woke up to an entirely full dumpster and about 75% of the work completed in the basement.

That day – I was able to at least put in some work of my own – mainly keeping the laundry going of any and all textile items that had gotten wet. He continued to shampoo rugs and mop floors.

Before I went back to work on Monday, my entire basement was like an entirely new, clutter- and anxiety-free, organized space that I no longer had to run from.

Look, I am not saying that I wrote a sparrow into my life. All I can do is repeat what I said a few weeks ago. Good things, bad things, annoying things, expensive things are going to happen. But we have a choice about how we look at them. And this one, getting water in my basement, is one that is certainly going on my sparrow board.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.