Closet Hoarder

This is a portion of the stuff removed from Alex's closet. If I took a picture of it all you'd be afraid. Very afraid.

Mommyhood has made me a closet hoarder. Why do I find it impossible to bid farewell to my son’s stuff?

I mean it’s just stuff. But it’s his stuff.

I recently got to the point where I couldn’t access Alex’s closet without regressing back to the schoolyard game of of tug of war–and it required all of my strength. I would open and close his closet in secret, beating the door into submission inch-by-inch, and wade through bags and bags and bags of clothing before I could find what I needed. Everything was fine until my husband stumbled upon me sweating from exhaustion mid-struggle, swearing under my breath at the damn closet door. ┬áNow I know what it feels like to be forced out of the closet. He staged an intervention right then and there.

“What’s going on here?,” he said.

Uh-oh. Game over.

I am not one who holds on to much at all. I can’t stand clutter. But when it comes to the sweet newborn onesies I can’t believe Alex once wore, adorable ensembles lovingly selected with him in mind, personalized holiday outfits, and teeny tiny jean jackets that seem impossible to stitch I can’t let them go. It just feels like it’s too soon.

Knowing me, my husband was gentle when dealing with this issue. I mean I didn’t come out of the overstuffed closet on my own terms! I was sneaky about my new hoarder tendancies, ensuring Alex’s drawers were neatly stocked so he never had to open the closet. He knew what he was up against.

Scott convinced me to remove the bags and bags and bags of outgrown clothing to make the closet functional again, and transported them into our room. I tried to go through it to save an outfit or two from each stage of Alex’s life (newborn, 0-3 months, 3-6 months, etc.) but quickly got overwhelmed with memories. It’s just too hard. He could see it in my eyes.

This July 4th will indeed go off with a bang. In addition to taking Alex to the beach for the first time and making some July 4th favorites (I am not hoarding those dishes; see below), we are declaring our independence and putting all of his old clothes in storage. I wish I could donate them to a family in need (I don’t have a pregnant friend who wants them), but I am still a closet hoarder when it comes to my precious baby boy. Are you the same way? Or am I the only one who can’t seem to let go of stuff?

This is the meat-eater's version. Just made half the batch without the Genoa salami for the vegetarians. Everyone will love it!

Independence Day Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is perfect for Independence Day because one batch can serve both meat-eaters and vegetarians (just add the Genoa salami to the meat-eater’s portion). Freedom of choice is what this holiday is all about!

1 package penne pasta

1 can kalamata olives, chopped

12 ounces roasted red peppers

1 clove garlic, minced

1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed (you can also use regular mozzarella; I personally like how the fresh mozzarella breaks up and resembles chunks of feta in this dish)

5 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1/4 pound Genoa salami, cut into small pieces

Italian dressing, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Boil the pasta in salted water, according to package directions, until it’s al dente. Let it cool. Toss with all of the ingredients, and thoroughly cover with Italian dressing (make sure you mix it through to ensure it’s enough and everything is coated). Refrigerate before serving.

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