When I was a young child, I didn’t fully realize that I would really rather play by myself than anyone else, because I was an only child. I didn’t have a lot of options, save some cousins and a few neighborhood friends. I found my happiness in many outdoor activities, art, and building my dolls houses. I never had a real doll house. “Awww…poor Erin.” No, no…..I didn’t WANT a plastic, boring doll house that all the other little girls had. My mother was an Avon lady. I got many things from Avon as a child, but my favorite things were the boxes the merchandise came in. SO sturdy. The perfect size. The perfect shape. I would stack them… one on top of the other…and side by side. I would spend hours constructing the homes…coloring their “doors and windows”….pasting magazine clippings as pictures on the walls….perfectly placing strips of cut fabric for rugs. I had little use for anything store bought (I am still this way). I was in a zone. Don’t talk to me….don’t touch me…don’t tell me lunch is ready. I didn’t want to do anything except build and design and see the thing through. “Oh you must have had so much fun playing with your Barbies in these masterpieces you poured your little heart into!” No….No I did not. I tried. It seemed the next logical step. I built the darn thing FOR my Barbies…..WHY didn’t I want to use them for their intended purposes? Because the construction and design, as I now understand, was what I wanted to do. That was what I loved. That was what held my attention.
I grew up and became an adult and didn’t really think much about those doll house building moments much more. What I did think about was the fact that every time I had a project I needed to work on, I had to go through the entire house and organize everything before I could focus. I have four children that I homeschool. I have an online vintage business that I run. I have books, merchandise, toys galore in this house that take days to organize. I KNOW that I have to focus on the task at hand. I HAVE to list my items online, if I plan on making money. I HAVE to sit down and sew if I’m going to be a part of this craft fair. I HAVE to paint this picture that my mom asked for 6 years ago. BUT….in my mind, none of this is even close to possible unless I have complete organization. So…I organize. DON’T talk to me. DON’T touch me. DON’T ask for lunch yet. DON’T make me listen to your stories. I am on a mission and I can’t be bothered. I HAVE to see this through or I won’t sleep…I won’t EVER be able to cook again. I won’t ever be able to teach you what you need to know, if I DON’T get this place organized…..again. “Mommy, you just organized last week.” It wasn’t until I started hearing these statements from my little girl that I realized I had a problem. My Aspie mind saw this as a logical step. Organize first. Work later. But work rarely came. I felt I had done what I needed to do.
After the realization that this was an obsession, I have worked very hard to live how I need to live. To focus on what’s really important instead of what my brain tells me is most important. I’m not quite sure I’ll ever get over the devastation of not having everything in it’s place, but I do know I’m trying. I do know that I look up from my stacks of papers, art supplies, and mounds of fabric and see four sets of eyes that need their mommy to “let it go” and enjoy life….not just the process of working through life. I will have too much laundry. I will have too many crumbs on the floor. I will be disorganized sometimes…..but I will have memories….I will have hugs…I will have happy, well loved children. And THAT’S what it’s all about.