I have a vacation coming up on Friday.
Yes, a vacation.
A bonafide vacation.
Like the kind where you go to the beach, and stick your feet in the sand, and lie back, kick up your feet, read a good book and just REST.
I have never, EVER been on a bonafide vacation before.
I used to dream about them as a little kid when my mom would sing the “V-A-C-A-TION” song to us at the end of every school year. I always wondered what one of those would be like. I mean, sure, we took road trips as a family… went to fairs and explored big cities and visited museums and went to see family… but it was never a “Rest and Relaxation” kind of vacation. Even my honeymoon. We went to Chicago (I know… Chicago?!) and walked ten miles every day and didn’t have time to rest and relax because we had to see everything in a span of four days.
So, this vacation? This is a big deal.
But I digress. This post isn’t even about the vacation. It’s about the prep work leading up to the vacation… which leads to other work… which leads to ridiculous frustrations… which leads to ridiculous blog posts. (Stay with me, peeps. This all makes sense in my head.)
So, yesterday, in preparation for this vacation… I did some laundry, cleaned out the fridge, cleaned out the litter box, and then took a gander around my apartment and decided to clean. (You know, because one’s home cannot be too clean before embarking on a vacation. I mean, what would the cat sitter think if they were to see your home in utter disarray?!)
SO, anyhoodles… I’m all… cleaning... and I come across a stack (yes, a stack) of … gifts… given to me by well-meaning parents and students. Gifts that have been piling up since Christmas of LAST YEAR. Gifts that have been piling up since Christmas OF LAST YEAR (thus the need for the stack) because… I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH THEM.
It seems wrong to just… toss them… they are gifts after all… but they are gifts that I will literally NEVER-EVER use.
The apple cinnamon mini candle? Tell me you didn’t just regift that because you panicked at the last minute realizing you didn’t have a gift for the teacher.
The teeny-tiny apple picture frame? Whose picture am I supposed to put in there? Your child’s? I didn’t even like your child that much.
The mini book of inspirational teaching quotes? Do you honestly think I’m going to put that in my purse and pull it out when I need some wise words of encouragement? Um… Honey? Ain’t NO teacher got time for that!
The Mod-Podge glitter vase with my initials in it? Really? REALLY?
The LIP GLOSS?! Is that some kind of passive aggressive insult or were you just super desperate for a last minute gift?
THE BOX OF SPICES?! (SPICES?!?!) The ENDLESS array of teaching angels. The mugs… the mugs, the mugs, the MUGS! ALL THE MUGS ALL THE TIME. The candles and the calendars and the rosaries and the note pads.
I don’t know what to do with it all!!!
Now, before you get bent too out of shape… I’m really not that mean and ungrateful. ANY time a student or a parent gets me anything, I’m always super surprised and delighted. I never expect anything for simply… doing my job. So, the fact that parents and students take the time to get me something always gives me the warm fuzzies.
It’s just that… once I look at the stack at the end of the year I’m all…
But after a couple years of doing just that…
(You guys… I’m going to let you in on a little secret… all the stuff? I piled it into a box bound for Good Will.)
Shhhhh…. No one will ever know.
Truly… I’m not trying to be ungrateful… but I have enough of my own stuff to contend with… stuff which also needs to be gone through and shipped off. (Heck, I haven’t even gotten through all the things from my parents’ house that I need to do something with. So, forgive me if I get all discombobulated with your candles, and picture frames and itty bitty books. It’s not you. It’s me.)
From now on, the only gift anyone will ever receive from me (Unless you explicitly state, “Annie. I would like item number 09283XL48 in red from page 243 of this catalog.” – I love that I assume people still shop from catalogs…) is a gift card. Because I know what you do with all the other gifts I have ever gotten you. You toss them. Or give them away. Or regift them. Because there is such a thing as TOO. MUCH. STUFF.