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.