talk about it more

a virtual baby book

When she was two, Fiona regularly said "Talk about it more!" to express her desire to know more about whatever we were discussing.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Learning to let go

Garage saling is a mentality; and so, I suppose, is holding one. Some people hold onto stuff, and others use it for a time and then release it into the universe to be used by another. It’s all a complicated dance between basements of mildewing boxed memories and a front yard of voyeuristic profits at 50¢ a pop. There’s something rather bittersweet about either one.

There’s nothing wrong with holding onto things, mind you. There are some things that are definitely worth keeping. I’ve been voraciously reading rightsizing books for almost a year trying to figure out which things are worth keeping, and why, and how. I want to be able to streamline our home and our lifestyle so we can declutter ourselves to have more room to breathe, to think, and to live simpler and less materialistic lives. Our sweet old house may be crumbling in a couple places, but it’s ours and we love it dearly. It’s the place we want to stay for the foreseeable future, and if the things we own don’t work in this place, it’s time to let them go.

Enter Fiona and Nora. Fiona’s very accustomed to hearing the comment, “I remember when you wore that,” but she doesn’t quite know what to think when the item no longer fits Nora. We keep a few memorable things, and we pass on as many as our friends would like to have, but many are going by way of the sale.

And toys! And gear! It’s hard for the girls to see those go. I don’t really want to admit it to them, but it’s difficult for me as well. There’s something so very final about saying goodbye to a baby sling, a baby food cookbook, a breast pump. They are the tangible relics of that fleeting, sensuous, rollicking, sleep-deprived time of sheer love and attention to my itty bitty family. I do truly believe that someone should use them before they become dated and dappled with age and disuse.

But oh, the heartache. It’s difficult to teach our daughters about the concrete mechanics of reducing, reusing, and recycling when such visceral pain is coming from somewhere completely emotional. As happy as our times have been, are now, and will be in the future, this fairly straightforward yard sale marks the inexorable fact that our baby days are, in fact, behind us.


At 3:52 PM, Blogger Deborah said...

Jen, about 10 years ago, Laura's godmother passed away and left her the entire contents of her apartment. This woman, Vera, had worked at Nordstrom's for several decades and thus had some beautiful clothing and costume jewelry which, I think, many people would have gladly paid good money for. But Laura couldn't bear the thought of haggling over prices with some stranger over her beloved godmother's things. So everything was stored in my parent dank, moldy garage for years until it all rotted away. It would have been a more fitting memorial to Vera if Laura had had the guts to sell her things and let someone else cherish and care for those items.
I'm not saying that this situation is the same as yours, it's just that your post reminded me of the head versus heart dilemna, and in Laura's case, head would have been better.

At 1:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, it's ok to let them know you suffer over it too. I mean, one of these days they won't believe your denials go ahead and 'fess up. And then move on and get rid of whatever you don't need! love, mom
p.s. I honestly thought I wasn't "attached" to my things until I moved to the monastery and had to let go of a lot. Yup, I really was attached.


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