Like mother, like daughter

I’m back in socal cleaning out my mother’s house. It’s an endless chore and I make slow progress. What’s been interesting to me lately is discovering how some of my behaviors are inherited from my mother even though I might have never known they were her behaviors (or at least not consciously been aware of knowing). For example: saving receipts. Like every single receipt for everything, and organized by year. I’ve decided finally to start shredding old receipts — anything not from the current year — but apparently my mother didn’t own a shredder. I’ve found 20 year old receipts. In fact, lots of other 20 year old documents. And receipts and documents for all the years since then too.

I found this binder the other day full of magazine and newspaper clippings. Which is a new habit of mine — instead of keeping whole magazines, I rip out the few pages I want to keep and organize them in a binder. I guess I got that from my mom too.

It’s amazing how much of someone’s life you can piece together by her accumulated bits of paper: travel routes via gas receipts, favorite foods by restaurant receipts, personal interests by saved clippings. Some of it I save because sometimes I discover something new or because I want to remember some moment with her, but most of it I shred. Because I’m trying not to be a hoarder.

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