It was long overdue, but none of us were ready for it earlier. So, into the basement and closets it all went: the treasures, the flotsam and jetsam of H’s childhood. Until this week, when M pulled all the boxes into the living room and began to sort.
Decks of cards (some still wrapped in cellophane). Heaps of pens and markers and erasers shaped like animals and flowers and who knows what. Baby toys. Art kits. Magic sets. Scraps of fabric. Pipe cleaners. Rubber stamps. Popsicle sticks. Half-used bottles of bubble solution. Half-filled journals and notebooks. Plastic figurines. Key chains. Shells, sticks, stones, feathers, drift wood. Impossibly tiny doll shoes. Stuffed animals. Unidentifiable bits of plastic. Books, and books, and books.
I expected it to feel emotional (and I’m grateful that M & H did the bulk of the sorting and decision-making without me)—putting behind us one phase of our life in order to prepare for the next—but I didn’t expect the interleaved sensation, seeing the brocade of her childhood woven with threads of our own, memories of her growing up braided with those of our life before and since her arrival, longings for people who gave her things long ago and are no longer here to give her things.
There was plenty of, let’s face it, junk in that pile. Objects that stirred no memories at all.
But when I look at the boxes piled up for donation, I see all at once our expectations, her happy childhood, her growing up and away (in the best, most natural way possible), my own childhood, my approaching half century, my mother, my grandparents, their childhoods and adulthoods, the tiny hands of the next child to play with these toys, their half-closed eyes when they listen to the clock singing its sleepy song.
I’ll say it again: I’m the luckiest girl in the world. Oh, but how life can deliver such beautiful, sad, sweet, sepia-toned stings.
Oh, I hear you on the so hard to do bits…when we downsized it was horrible as we had a huge walk-in attic off one of the bedrooms and it was easy just to put things in a box and stack them in the attic. Going through all that was painful to say the least…all of our childhoods, not just the boys…and things were sorted and gifted and tossed and gifted and donated and I still wonder if some of it was the right decision. It does feel better to just have photos of it all and not the actual stacks and stacks of things themselves. I like traveling lighter. I keep saying that to remind me. You can’t keep everything!! lol Love the little clock. 🙂
You’re so right, Kayte. It’s just “things” and it feels good to unburden. It just amazes me over and over how much meaning we humans can put into simple objects.
My attic is still filled with those items. saving them for a grandchild or two. so you are years ahead of us!
We saved many precious things for the future, too, but some things just had to go!
Oh, oh, oh, you have captured exactly what it is like to say goodbye and hello at the same time. Parting is such sweet… Loved this so much. Thank you.