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Today's Family Magazine

MOMMY CHRONICLES: Getting rid of stuff, not memories

By Stacy Turner

When school let out for summer, my elder daughter’s attention was fixed on updating her bedroom.  Now that she’s nearly a full-sized human, she’s informed us that a twin-sized trundle bed is no longer acceptable.  And I grudgingly agree.  Now, her longer limbs mean the once more-than-ample trundle has probably reached the end of its usefulness for her.  And the paint colors on the walls are less than ideal for her more mature palette.  It’s time for this admittedly overly sentimental momma to say goodbye to the room that hosted gaggles of giggling girls for parties and sleepovers as well as  games of hide and seek.  And that special embroidered butterfly quilt from Grandma that perfectly matched the butterflies and vines of her now unwanted bed need to find a new home, too.

She began the process of sorting her things, setting aside the few that still made the cut, and created a small pile to give away and another pile to offer for sale.  That special toy she had to have sits alongside the perfect dress we scoured the stores to find.  Both were offered up for sale.  It was hard to watch, so I took a deep breath before leaving the room to let her finish sorting.  She and her dad agreed that any proceeds from this sale of childhood artifacts will be added to her bedroom makeover fund.  With that in mind, she then scoured the house for other items from her youth. Stumbling upon the child-sized wooden table and matching wooden chairs hidden away in a spare room, she added them to the clearance event, too. 

Realistically, I know there’s no good reason to keep all these items.  I’m just having difficulty separating the items from the sweet memories they’re intertwined with.  If I look closely at the low wooden table and small green chairs, I can picture two small princesses, each with shiny plastic crowns.  They clink tiny cups of lemonade together, pinkies outstretched, toasting at one of their regularly scheduled tea parties. The high-end table and chairs were a generous gift from Grandma and their now-departed Pop Pop.  Both were pleased to accept invitations to tea on more than one occasion, to the delight of the girls.  I know those days are over and the set has been gathering dust.  That must be what’s making my eyes water. It’s hard for an overly sentimental momma to peel away the fond memories from the items making their way to the sale pile.

“What should it cost?” my daughter asked, as she typed in a description and uploaded photos to sell the items online.  Lost in thought for a moment, I wondered how we could possibly put a price tag on all those sweet memories.  She answered her own question, interrupting my thoughts, “How about $85 for the table and chairs?”

I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that while those items that had been perfect and exactly what she needed, over time as she’s grown, they’ve become outdated and simply no longer fit.  So even if lately it feels like I’m stuck in an obnoxious “everything must go” ad, I take comfort in knowing I can hold on tightly to the sweet memories, even while the remnants of her childhood go to the highest bidder.  I’m letting go of what was to make room for what will be.  And I can’t wait to see what will blossom in this new space she’s creating.