Twice a year, my family begins the tradition of rummaging through closets, dressers, under beds, and deep in cobwebbed corners, weeding out the torn, worn, and the junky from overstuffed bedrooms. The kids try on clothes, saddened to learn that their favorite shirt from the previous year now looks like a better fit for an infant. I set them in a consignment pile to sell, saddened for another reason: yet another reminder of the passage of time.
The kids root through bins of outgrown toys I tucked away long ago when they weren’t looking and announce they suddenly can’t live without the Little Einsteins rocket and fly it around the room, proclaiming it their most favorite toy ever. “Mom, you can’t get rid of this!” Don’t even mention the fact that they played with it three times a year.
They hold up various items, not even sure what they are, and beg me not to sell them: a baby bathtub, infant scratch mittens. They pull out things I either don’t want to look at ever again or things they never looked at: a house with a ringing door that rings all the time, princess books I hated to read, a robot magnet puzzle for staying occupied in the car that did not work.
Getting rid of the kids’ stuff is a mixed bag of emotions every year. At first seeing my kids’ packed-away clothes took the wind out of me, knowing no more of my offspring will toddle around my unscrubbed floors and need me every second of the day. It’s amazing how fabric and buttons can bring a surge of grief, pain, and laughter you have to gulp in silence or sit down and give in to. Memories swarm to a time when my kids used to sit on my hip and say “ma-ma” and really look at my face. Seeing their tiny baby clothes became too much to bear. I couldn’t part with the preemie outfit my son wore home from the hospital or the outfits I bought when I learned I was having a girl. I washed them and gave them to my daughter to use for her dolls, just like my mom did when I was little. The summer dresses I loved, the shorts that hung to my son’s ankles, everything else that brought memories I’ve tagged, sold, and had to move on.
Some things I have happily tagged to get rid of thinking, “I’ll giveit away if I have to.” Those annoying toys the kids talked their grandparents into when we parents weren’t around. The obnoxiously loud ones that sound off in the middle of the night or the ones we knew they’d never play with and didn’t.
Still there are toys that one day I’ll lovingly pack away because they define such a chunk of my kid’s life. My son got a pirate ship when he was two that he still plays with occasionally. One day I’ll give it to my grandkids and tell them the odd names he gave the pirates: Scotgok, Elvis, Redhead, Brownbeard, Harold the Helicopter, Captain Fierce, No Name, and Greenie.
My sister and her husband once dropped off some broken, old junk at the dump that included their kids’ old jeep. Both kids drove it for years. My sister warned her husband not to look back when they drove away. Sometimes, you just can’t.
My First Giveaway!
In honor of spring-cleaning and out with the old, I’ve decided to hold my first giveaway. I’ll pick two random readers to win these lovelies: a pair of broken-in jeans. My son has done all the work so your kid doesn’t have to. Stains included.
And this Big Wheel provides nonstop skidding action. Just thump-a, thump-a down the road and hit the brakes, kids!
Terms and conditions: No givebacks, no paybacks.
Some things you just can’t give away, but I’ll try.