Patrick and my closest friends will tell you that I am clutter phobic. If we don’t need it, use it, or love it, it is outta here. Knick-knacks are NOT my thing. If it collects dust, it probably doesn’t serve a very important purpose. I am of the mindset that if you collect everything, you value nothing.
This has held true even after having children. While I have kept a handful of sentimental things for the kids, they are few and far between. I don’t feel compelled to keep every drawing or painting. Projects goes up on their respective bulletin boards in the kitchen for a few days, but once it is replaced by a newer, better version, it is gone...forever.
A week or so before Valentine’s Day Vincent told me he had made me a special card. He said it was on blue paper, because I love his blue eyes. He told me he wrote I love you on the card and used a heart in place of the word love, just like I do on his occasional lunchbox notes.
The build up to this card rivaled that of the royal wedding.
So on Valentine’s Day we checked his file box and there was a lovely pink heart shaped Valentines card, handmade by Vinny. I was informed that this was NOT my special card.
The following weekend was the school art show and open house. Vincent asked his teacher where my card was. Mrs. Abang said she had sent all the cards home. Vincent explained that the pink card the whole class made was NOT the same as my special card and described this card in great detail. He was quite emotional about it, which he very seldom gets over “things”. We both assured him it would turn up, but I had my doubts. Vincent then repeated this same conversation with the principal later in the day. This card had really riled up my normally mellow, go-with-the-flow kid.
For weeks Vincent continued to talk about this special card, and say things like, “I can’t wait for you to see it!” and “ You are going to love it!” We would check the file box every afternoon to see if it was there, to no avail.
Vincent finally stopped asking about the card. He either forgot about it, or lost hope. Then one day in May when I was pulling the various notices and reminders out of Vincent’s file box, he caught a glimpse of it- this blue Valentine’s Day card...that he made for me weeks before Valentine’s Day... during free playtime.
It is on blue paper.
It says “I love U!” just like his lunchbox notes, even if the U and the exclamation point are juxtaposed.
There is a heart drawn in place of the word love.
It is finished off with a few shapes and stamps of spiders and octopus, thrown in for good measure.
Most importantly, he made it on his own...unprompted...in his free time...when he could have been building with magna tiles or pretending to be a firefighter with his classmates...for his mom.
I decluttered yesterday. I hate clutter. The card has been on Vincent’s bulletin board since it we brought it home from school. A new painting he made at the rec center went in its place, but this card went in my drawer. Not because it is any spectacular work of art. In fact it is pretty unremarkable. It is the sentiment and story that go with this special card that make it such a valued possession.