Where do you draw the line – of what you keep and what you give away? Sometimes something makes the cut today, but not tomorrow. Sometimes something doesn’t make the cut today, and I wonder if I will regret that tomorrow.
Baby socks. Folded up piles and bundles of baby socks. Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, a few months of barefoot, and then it’s back to the drawing board again. A whole year of memories in socks. Growing feet hold up growing bodies.
Baby socks make me cry. Curled, pink and skinny newborn feet turn into chubby, dirty toddler feet. And so on.
Last week we sifted through the house before we played our game of musical bedrooms. Old toys and old books that belonged to me. Old toys and old clothes that belonged to Scarlet and Des. Toddler toys were separated into four piles – trash, donation, Des, Scarlet. Clothes. Hair ties. Finger puppets. Each toy is a memory, and I’d be lying if I said I remember the origin of each one, but I get darn close. I try. I consult old blogs and photos and notes. I take the time to pinpoint the gift-givers. I take time to pinpoint the memories.
Every object brings up a memory I did not remember until I saw it. Ever have that happen? There is a person, place or thing and your memory is somehow triggered, but if it hadn’t been triggered, you would probably have spent your entire life never thinking about it again. And what of memories then? Where do they go? How much should we remember? Only the important stuff? Isn’t it all important? I can remember a lot but eventually a lot of it blurs together, I’m sad to say. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment Scarlet first took a step that kept on going. Not five or six wobbles and then falls. I cannot pinpoint the exact first word she said because it’s like she’s always been speaking. (I think it was “dada”) I didn’t keep a baby journal but I started this blog when she was nine months.
It hurts to keep too much. It hurts to throw anything away. I’m not a hoarder by any means, but I’m a memory keeper. I pick up each discarded or outgrown toy and I remember the relative or friend who lovingly picked it out for her and paid for it with potentially shaking and/or wrinkled hands. Youthful hands that never seem to have enough money passing through them? That hurts too. Extra points if the friend or relative is in any kind of physical or emotional pain, even if they weren’t when they picked out our gifts.
As if donating an old puzzle they gave my daughter four years ago will add to the aching burden on their hearts.
Where do you draw the line?
My parents kept nearly two decades worth of the 80’s and 90’s era junk of five children. They did not want to be the ones to make the calls. They did not want to be the ones to break the hearts. They left that up to us. Cassidy is on the other side of the spectrum. He’d toss it all if I’d let him. I won’t. Me – I’m somewhere in the middle. I hate clutter and junk. I hate musty mold and broken insect wings in boxes of books. The thoughts of spiders and mouse sh*t would send me over the edge. And yet, I’m a memory keeper.
I can’t keep it all. I can’t save it all. Not under his watchful eye – not sneaking little junky toys in the “save” boxes when he’s not looking – thinking of my mother or my grandmother or the mothers upon mothers before me – all preserving at least part of their children and children’s children’s objects. There is not much you can control but you can control this. And that’s how people let it get out of control. They think they are controlling their lives. As if piles upon piles of papers and crap on their beds and on their heads and falling out of kitchen cabinets and closet doors, piles up into the love and security they feel they are lacking in their lives.
I am an in-between. I am a memory keeper. If I can’t keep it in my hands, I can keep it in my heart. I can find a new way:
This is part of why I blog – so that I don’t forget what must not be forgotten.
This is part of why I take photos – so that I don’t forget what must not be forgotten.
There are a lot of stories to tell here, but I guess I’ll let the photos tell it.