I got busted throwing out some of Emma’s ‘papers’. And I am filled with guilt.

There’s a lot of paperwork that comes with Kindergarten.  A ton. Perhaps literally.

Everyday, Emma brings home at least five or six things. Beautiful drawings, printing work she’s aced, some spelling, and school notes, etc. Then, once she’s home she draws and colors and is always making us little gifts. And I love it. Please don’t get me wrong. I love it all.

But, it turns into a lot of papers.

So, I have a drawer that I fill with some of my favorites and then when that fills up I go through and keep my favorites from there and put them into a box which is in the basement with many other treasures. I have a box of Alexa’s papers. A box of Maria’s papers. A box of Emma’s papers. And with Ella now in pre-school – there’s an Ella box, too.

I love the papers.  I’ve made artwork into stationary and gifts for family members. I have some in frames hanging on our walls and I have a bunch hanging in their play room.  I love it.

But, life is what it is.

Yesterday was a busy day. A great day, but a busy one. And I found myself straightening up the kitchen when I came across a mound of papers. I quickly went through them and then – ugh – I tossed them.

Please don’t judge me. Please.

I can’t take it.

I folded them in half and put them in the kitchen garbage can. I know. Not even in the recycling bin!

I know. I’m a jerk.

But, I could see my counter top again. Yay, me!

A few minutes later, Emma was throwing something in the garbage. I couldn’t stop her fast enough. She opened the garbage can and she gasped, “Mom, you threw out my papers.”



“I’m sorry, sweetie. I thought you were done with those.”

She was devastated.

Obviously, I love Emma to pieces and her artwork is outstanding – and I have so much of it – and I love it – and – and – and. And the look on her face killed me slowly.

She looked through them… there were about ten pieces. Mind you, this is just from today. I love her teacher by the way – best teacher we could have asked for. And I applaud all of the work they do.

Emma continued to look through those papers and seemed okay, “This isn’t important so it’s okay. And this one too. We don’t need to keep this one. Or this one.”

And then she stops. Looks at me. And says a sentence that felt like a knife going into my heart – “You threw out my love letter to you and dad?”

Wait. What?

How could I?

That’s what you’re thinking. But hang on. Emma makes us love letters – everyday. Literally every day.


This was Monday.


And Tuesday.


And Wednesday.


And Thursday.



And Friday.




And there she was, picking it out of the trash can. Just look at her face.

That face.



There was just a slight crease, so we were able to save it. It’s going into the box.

I spent about an hour apologizing to Emma. She was fine, really.  She isn’t mad at me. She isn’t even upset anymore.

I am, though.

Emma spent quite a while making that love letter for me and Scott. It was her work. Her creation. It was an expression of love from her to us.  I love that it means so much to her.

So, I will continue to throw papers out (or I’ll be on some hoarding show) but, I will certainly be a little more careful about what I toss and what I keep.

Mom guilt is the worst, isn’t it?! 🙂




Mary Friona

Mary Friona

Following my heart with my husband and four daughters. An Emmy Award winning journalist lucky enough to work in television & radio for 20 years - seeing wonderful places, meeting great people and telling their stories.

Comments (2)

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    Ruth Breidenstein


    Mary, Gosh don’t beat yourself up or feel so guilty . Things happen. I’m sure Emma will continue making more for you. I know how papers can become over whelming and kids just put the stuff anywhere . Smile and forget about it. Its a new day and no doubt new drawings and love letter.


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    I think we’ve all been there and it makes you feel horrible. I have three older daughters and still struggle with throwing out their “creations” when they were young.
    Stole an idea from a friend who scans the pictures and keeps a file on the computer just for them. Or take a pic on your phone. Then you can say that you can show them to anyone anywhere you are!


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