A cleaning journal

Does anyone really need their utilities bills from 2006, when they lived in another house? I'm not sure, but I've decided that things like this simply have to go. I'm sad, though, to give it up, because it's a record of a different time.

I've got to find a way to let go of the past, or I have no hope of making it to the future in style. So, I'm going now to find a box that I can put this all in so I can recycle them.

I used to recycle back in 2006. I was religious about it. Now, everything goes in the trash can. 

Well, not everything. 

I don't want to lose the paperwork from when my children were born. That's a very important paper trail indeed. The hospital were they born doesn't exist anymore. It moved and then was purchased by another hospital, so it can't possibly be seen as the same thing. So, I'll hang on to that.

I'm also not sure if I want to get rid of my car insurance payments, which date back 10 years, when I first moved to Charlottesville. So, those I will keep for now. 

Just found a note from a doomed relationship I had back in 2010. I have lived during this time of storms. 

The breastfeeding chart for when my daughter was born was tucked in all the pamphlets they gave us. Her mother updated it for a full week, though my handwriting is still clearly there in some places. It notes so much detail about the first seven days of my daughter's life, and I was there. 

That one gets saved and I'm beginning to realize I need to start a new folder. 

The paperwork from when I left my UVA job in 2004? Don't need that.

Details of my jury duty session from 2007? In the bin.

Receipt from the only time I've rented a car from England? I'll keep that as a reminder as well as to confirm that we drove 363 miles in seven days in a Vauxhall Astra. That was the time I took my daughter and her mother and the first time I knew for certain I would not be moving to England after all. 

I pause a moment, look out the window, and see an important conversation take place, but now is not the time to write it down again.

I thought about cleaning out the rest of that folder, but I want to close it right now because I don't want to get too caught up on missing my English son. I missed most of his childhood, but I had points where I was there.

All this paperwork, each of it a record of days that have gone by. I continue to elect to receive my bills through paper because the ones I get electronically I somehow forget to pay.

All this paperwork signifying momentous times. A card from my daughter's mother's mother and grandmother welcoming her into the world. First birthday card. Second birthday card. Third, fourth, and then no more after that.

All of the records from when she went to day-care and what she did, what she had for lunch. I imagine I could put this all of this data into a computer and somehow recreate that time. I can't imagine the logistics of being a father anymore, not on a day-to-day basis.

I have none of my son's birthday cards.

So much paper is now in a cardboard box. I plan to drop it off at the McIntire Recycling Center tomorrow and to let it go. I have no idea if that will stop the gravitational pull of the pass and the sheer sense of loss that seems to undergird my whole life, akin to the cosmic background radiation that may or may not emanate from the big band.

I'll never fully understand what happened.

I do know that the past three hours of cleaning and sorting has just caused more of a mess, but I'm dedicated to making things better.

I don't blame anyone for anything that happened. Maybe myself a little, but I need to let that go.

Divorce is hard enough, but to go through it twice in one decade sure packs one hell of a wallop. 

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