Monday, December 19, 2005

It never gets any easier...

Today I filled the mini van with unplayed toys and outgrown clothes. I had been storing quite a few of these items in the garage, thinking I would have a garage sale. I changed my mind. I realized I didn't like the idea of people digging through my kid's baby clothes and toys all to make a couple of bucks.

I even took the play kitchen. I hate that thing. It's so cheap and the doors don't even close. I have been complaining about it since we put it together. My parents bought the kids a new kitchen this year for Christmas. A much better kitchen. A kitchen where there are drawers and the doors close.

I also took some Little People stuff. The newer versions, not the vintage ones. I did take one vintage barn because somehow we ended up with two of them. I kept the one that still had the door that "moo's" when you open it.

As I was packing up the car, I noticed that one of the bags contained Katrina's 1st Christmas outfit. She had received three "1st Christmas outfits" when she was born and I decided to only keep one. I almost pulled it out of the bag, but I kept it there.

"I have to move this stuff out of here."

" It won't be enjoyed by another family if I stuff it in a box."

"Someone else can use this. I know it."

I kept convincing myself of these things.

I took a picture of the full van because I couldn't believe it when I saw it. It was packed. I was slightly embarrassed by the amount of "stuff" in there and the fact that toys still littered nearly every room of the house.

When Katrina and I made it to the Goodwill, I was doing pretty well until I saw Trent's "Bob the Builder" t-shirt that he wore nearly everyday a couple of summers ago. I could remember when we found it at Walmart and he was so excited! It was now neatly folded in one of the brown paper bags among jean overalls and shorts. I fought off the tears.

It took me several trips to unload the car. The people working at the drop off site were a little surprised to see this much stuff. After the 4th trip, the lady said, "Thank You!". She didn't realize I wasn't done. I kept coming around from the van with more and more bags and boxes. Several other people donating items came and left while I was still unloading the van. Every time I came around with more stuff, the workers would kind of giggle. One of them even asked me what I did for a living.

When I was done, I got back in the van and I was bawling before I left the parking lot. I hate taking stuff to the Goodwill. I have such an attachment to "items". Every time I go to the drop off site, I leave crying. Every time.

I look in the rearview mirror and I see my children's old favorites sitting in the dust and the dirt. The first Christmas outfit, the favorite t-shirt, the stuffed animal Great Grandma gave them are all left behind in boxes and bags.

The items remind me of when they were younger and makes me question myself:

Did I appreciate them enough?

Did I still remember the feel of their tiny hand in my full adult size hand?

Can I remember the smell of their baby breath?

Why didn't I scrapbook the fact that Trent LOVED that Bob the Builder shirt?

I can clearly remember being 18 years old and having a two week old baby. It was the middle of the night or very early morning. I had gotten up to feed Ashley and it was just the two of us. I had just finished feeding her and I held her close and rocked her. I remember saying to myself, "Remember this moment. It will never happen again." And I do. I remember how tiny she was, her smell, her tiny hand in mine, the quiet off the house and her steady breathing.

I just have to keep reminding myself that I'm not dropping off memories, just items that trigger a memory. My memories are mine to keep for as long as I can. I remind myself of these facts every time I leave the Goodwill drop off site. It still doesn't make it any easier.

I have a feeling that Trent's baby swing will be in my garage until I can use it with his children, or even longer.


angieoh! said...

I think that is beautiful. You are attached to the every day precious...not the things. Nothing will give away those memories.

Amanda Williams said...

I totally know how you feel. We're packing up to move and I can barely stand the sight of all those boxes of now un-needed items.
Blankets, dolls, jammies....
I'm crying, too!

Amanda, newpeamanda
PS: I'll be moving to Tucson on the 1st...let's try to meey up some time:)

Sherry said...

Heather this is so beautiful and touching! I even started crying and remembering mine when they were little and how hard it was for me to part with their clothes and toys!

PS - I still have trunks of items I couldn't bear to part with!

Jocelyn said...

heather beautiful story. you're right- i tend to get attached to material things too, but thanks for helping me realize they're just memory triggers. the memories are ours for life.

Kimberly said...

OK...totally crying...I can so relate to this. Thanks for sharing your heart with us...and your things to those in need. What a sweet blessing!

Wendi said...

I'm with you. I was practically crying, too, as I read your thoughts. I have a similar pile in my garage that has to go. Thanks for the reminder to REMEMBER and keep the memories, even if the stuff has to go. :)

mammy2one said...

Oh you are an inspiration to me!!! I have been piling things up to have a garage sale too but the thought of people pawing through my precious things and haggling with me for them is just too too much! I always get a much better feeling when I donate them. As the Flylady says "bless others with your stuff" (paraphrased somewhat!)

I'll be making a few trips to Goodwill myself in the next few days. Wish me luck!

Emelyn said...

Heather!! you have me crying here at work! what great memories and I think you are a great mother for all that you do for them. i hear ya about the clutter, but at the same time the's hard...they grow, grow up too fast! i think lately I've been a very BAD mother...and I need to remember that they are young they need they need my time.....GREAT job Heather!

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