When Kathy’s parents moved into assisted living four years ago, at their request we brought back to our house furniture that had belonged to her grandmother. We also cleaned out her childhood bedroom… discovering her mom had saved a lot of things that once belonged to Kathy: grade school report cards; childhood books; high school clothes; jewelry; letters; scrapbooks; bulletin boards; thingamabobs; doohickeys; gizmos.
I held up each item and Kathy said, “keep” or “trash.” After many hours of reviewing and reminiscing, we took a lot of things to the dumpster and departed with a filled back seat.
After nearly 30 years of marriage, we’ve collected quite an array of ‘stuff’ ourselves. Enough Christmas ornaments to deck three trees, along with dozens of decorations for Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Gifts from holidays and birthdays past. Books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, albums and electronic devices that would fill a section at Barnes and Noble.
Heck, I kept my Boy Scout merit badges, a folder containing photos cut from 20 years of Sports Illustrated, and all of my college essays. Plus, we have a cabinet filled with the ‘best of’ our kids’ elementary school art projects and other youthful designs.
Which brings up a perplexing thought: will they care about these things when we’re gone, or will they simply sort them ‘keep’ or ‘trash’… then head to the dumpster?
Perhaps it’s not about passing things on to my kids that has me saving things from my childhood. Maybe it’s actually about holding on to the past – and that raises the question: what is that keeping me from accomplishing in the future?