Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Caught in the act

The other day, I was caught in the act.

I was caught red-handed.

I was doing something very naughty, but it was something that I’m sure many of you moms do on a daily basis.

What was I doing, you ask?

I was throwing away some of my kids school projects and homework papers.


My kids bring home so many school projects and so many homework assignments that it would be impossible to keep each and every thing. I would be overwhelmed by the amount of paper that accumulates in my house on a daily basis. Therefore I have been “recycling” most of their school papers and projects for years. (See, I said “most”.) But so far, it’s been my dirty little secret.

In my defense, I always keep papers that have a handprint on it, or a really precious drawing, or a cute story that they wrote. I keep samples of their early writing so I can share it with them someday. I save some A+ papers that I know were a struggle to finish. These things that I save are stored in big Rubbermaid boxes that I keep for each child.

However, I couldn’t possibly keep it all. I just haven’t told my kids that I actually throw some of it away.

Come on. I know you do it too. Admit it.

A few times my boys have found a school paper or two in the recycling bin, but I have just feigned outrage and acted surprised. I’ve said, “Oh my goodness! How did THAT get in there? It must have gotten stuck to the bottom of the newspapers! Give that back to me right now!”

They’ve always believed me, so I have gotten away with it.

But the other day, Charlie stumbled upon me in the actual act of “recycling” school papers. I couldn’t lie and say that these papers were “stuck with the newspapers” because I was only holding the school papers in my hand, and not newspapers.

"Why are you throwing away my homework, Mom?" he asked.

I stammered a bit, and then decided to tell him the truth. I said something like, “I enjoy looking at everything you guys bring home,” and “I save many important things.” I also said that I “wished I could save everything.” He was a little upset at first, but I think he got over it.


Speaking of pitching things, guess what else I threw away the other day?

A yellow Matchbox car.

And I loved every minute of it.

With three boys, I have accumulated more Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars than Toys ‘R Us has in stock at one time. If I were to sit down and count each and every one of them, I’m sure they would number well into the hundreds. No kidding.

A few years ago, my mother-in-law found boxes and boxes of Bill’s old die cast cars that he used to play with as a little boy. Lucky me, she brought all of them to our house to add to our growing collection.


Someone needs to conduct a study on these little die cast cars, because I think they know how to reproduce. Maybe they’re like an asexual plant, and one die cast car can produce new little cars that sprout off the back fender.

I’m convinced this is true because I don’t think I’ve actually bought all of these cars. Sure, a few of these cars were potty-training rewards when my boys were younger, and a few were gifts or stocking stuffers, but really? It just doesn’t seem possible that I’ve purchased most of them, and therefore wasted boatloads of money on die cast cars.

Now before the staunch environmentalists get upset with me for throwing away a little metal car that will sit in a landfill for all eternity and probably never decompose, I would just like to say that I am sorry.

Kind of.

I do care about the planet. I fill up two large recycling bins on a weekly basis, I use CFL light bulbs all over the house, I unplug unnecessary things, and I try to choose paper over plastic when possible.

But it’s just one teensy-weensy, little Matchbox car.

What prompted me to throw away said Matchbox car? Well, after the 428th time stepping on one of these cars, I had enough.

I. had. enough.

I looked at the bottom of my bare foot and saw a red, painful mark that resembled a tiny little tailpipe and fender, and that was it. I threw away the offending car immediately.

Remorse didn’t really set in until after the garbage truck claimed it a few days later and I started to think about environmental impact, but what can a gal do?

That Matchbox car had it coming.

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