Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Holding on

Two little boy birthdays this month.  My eldest is now eleven and my youngest is six.  When my boys were babes people would tell me, 'make the most of these days because they grow up so fast.'  I would look down at my child's face and wonder.  Those first few months after they are born seem to go by so slowly.  You wait expectantly for each milestone -- the cord falling off, the first smile, the first hand clap, the first roll over.  Time seems to be something that happens to other people.

Sometime between then and now, between bottle feeding and swimming lessons, time has sped up.  Considerably.  This upsets me.  I don't miss the work of babies, believe me.  I can do without the breast pumps, midnight feedings, bottle washing, diapers and baby gates.  But I do miss other things, like burping and socks and naps and baths and baby toys.

That's the thing that has brought this on, I guess.  Toys.  Over the past several days I have been going through my kids' toy collections.  With extremely generous grandparents and aunts and uncles, my boys have amassed a lot of toys.  A LOT of toys.  90% of which they don't play with anymore.  So in order to make more room in closets and shelves and basically everywhere else in the house, I've been sorting the 'still-played-with' from the 'not-played-with.'  And removing the 'lost-pieces' and the 'broken-pieces' as well.  It is a huge effort.  And I have to do it while the boys are at school, else they will fish every other thing that I put into the 'going away' pile and claim that it is their favorite toy and they still want to keep it.

Actually, the biggest difficulty I've had to overcome is my own nostalgia.  I remember some of these toys with great fondness.  The playmobile airport set that took me three hours to put together.  The spiral ball slide with four openings at the bottom.  The musical tree house.  The classic plastic jewels that snap together.  The alphabet, number and shape puzzles that are missing most of their pieces.  I played with all of these with my boys, and it brings back wonderful memories.  I am loathe to part with them.  My long-term memory pretty much stinks, so unearthing these old toys has triggered forgotten images of play and laughter that catch at my throat.

I am tempted to keep some of them.  Not for my boys to play with, but for me to remember with.  More than tempted.  I've already got a sack of baby clothes stashed away.  And I save a good bit of their artwork and schoolwork.  Why shouldn't I keep some of the toys?  Am I being overly sentimental?  Probably.  Who cares.  I have a feeling that when I'm 70 years old and going through these things, whatever I do decide to keep, I'll wish I had kept more.

Besides, I need to save some for the grandchildren, right?


Mama Pea said...

I'm not a "saver" and I will admit that every now and then I kinda kick myself for not having kept certain things. We kept some of our daughter's toys thinking they would be great for her children (our grandchildren) but then when we all had to face the fact that that was never going to happen, we gave them away.

So, no, don't hesitate to save the things that mean something to you. Whatever you finally do with them, they will provide you with meaningful and warm and wonderful memories until you decide it's time to let them go.

Ladytats said...

I agree with Mama Pea, keep what you need to, within the space you have designated as your memory space. Also, yes, do keep with the possibility of grandchildren, just this past weekend, my daughter and I were talking about how her children are enjoying the some of the toys she had as a small child, and how much it meant to her, that I had kept them.

Autumn said...

I'm a keeper, so I tend to keep way more than I should. But, I heard a great idea recently from friends who were moving overseas. They encouraged their kids to give away a bunch of stuff, but if there was something that they wanted to keep for sentimental reasons only, they took a picture of that item and then made a photo album of all their "favorite things" so they could remember, but didn't have to store a box of "stuff". Just an idea!

Jo said...

The more I go along, the easier it's getting. Especially when I can picture the much-cleaner and less-cluttered house I will have afterwards!