May 31, 2012 by Carin
Just a random thought for you guys this Thursday.
Over the Memorial weekend, my sister and I headed to my mom’s house to do some purging. We were not purging our mother’s things, but ours from our childhoods, college and early adulthood. My mom has a room in her basement that slowly, throughout the years has turned into a storeroom for whatever it was that we didn’t want to take with us after having lived with her at various points in our lives. The discoveries were amazing. I knew I had a lot of stuff there, but hadn’t realized to what extent. I found every note from junior high and high school written to me by friends. You remember those notes that didn’t really have anything of importance written in them, but rather who said what, who likes who and what happened over the weekend. I had so many tucked into shoe boxes that I didn’t even want to begin to read any of them. I found pictures from dances, trips with friends, art work, senior pictures, year books, mementos, dried flowers, and stuff from past boyfriends that at the time I could not imagine parting with and so on. If you can remember saving it, then I probably had it. It was a lot of stuff. What did I do with it all? I threw 99% of it. I saved the yearbooks and pictures and the rest was tossed. I am sure that all those years ago I packed it all away thinking that when I got older it would be fun to read the notes and relive those memories. But now that I am in my mid-thirties, it just felt like a lot of crap. I am pretty sure the notes would not have made sense or would have seemed really silly to read now. The dried flowers meant nothing and the mementos were things that had no value with the inside joke having been forgotten. The pictures on the other did relive a lot of memories and brought me back to the time those pictures were taken. A lot can be re-lived by looking at a picture and I love that about pictures.
After all that purging, it got me thinking about my own kids and how I have started to save things for them like the outfit they came home from the hospital in, their first shoes, a particular shirt and those first few drawings. I try hard to keep only the very special of the special so that when they get to be my age it doesn’t all appear to be just junk. I don’t want to be that mom that saves every piece of art, every shirt or dress, or worse yet the mom that saves all the “crap” from every little event. Going forward I want to make sure I am selective with the keepsakes so that I can sit down with them someday and tell the story behind the item and hopefully help them relive a special moments in their lives. I realize that they are probably too young to remember anything significant, but hopefully I will be able to save some items that fill in the blanks and they might be able to conjure up something or enlist others to help them relive some happy memories. What I hope to avoid is saving just “things” for them that no one can remember anything about and then it turns into “crap”. After all, things are just things until they have a memory worth remembering and retelling to make them special. Hopefully if all goes well, the pictures I take and the items will come full circle and become married together in the future. I just hope that my kids don’t find a bunch of boxes of their childhood stuff I saved for them and then have to make the decision to keep or throw.
Do you have method or philosophy to how you or what your keep for you kids or maybe even yourself?