When I was a kid, I learned quickly that if something wasn't being used, if something was outgrown, if something was broken beyond repair or if it wasn't put away where it was supposed to be, it was expendable, and would just disappear one day if I didn't do whatever I was supposed to with it, whatever it was.
My dad really liked to throw things away, to get rid of them. He loved nothing more than loading up the car and dropping stuff off at Goodwill. My childhood is full of fond memories of trips to the dump.
He hated clutter and taught me to hate it as well. If something isn't needed, or someone else needs it more, give it up. Let it go.
My childhood makes living in a house with five other people, at least three of which are pack rats, difficult to say the least.
I have to admit that I have nonsensical attachments to things too.
My things are bigger.
I'll tell you about three of them today.
First up, his car. Yep. My dad's car.
It's been sitting in front of my house, hardly ever driven, for over two years. It's not a classic car, it's not anything we could reasonably be hanging on to for collector purposes. It's depreciating with every month that it sits, and yet it sits.
It's not practical for us here. It's a gas guzzler, it's heavy as hell, it's expensive to insure. It's impractical, and it's rapidly approaching the point where major work will need to be done because of the number of miles on it.
We intended all along to sell it. But then I couldn't. I know that if he was here, he'd be annoyed with me for keeping something so huge for no good reason other than sentimentality. I know that if he was here, he would tell me to take the license plates off, clean out the few things left inside that belonged to him, and let it go. I know this.
I know that someday soon, I will do it. For now, though, it's my twisted way of hanging on to him just a little bit longer.
It's just a car. I know. I didn't say it made sense.
Second, a planter box in the yard, just built yesterday.
It's early for me to have such an attachment to something so odd, I know, but I can't help it. I've wanted one for too many years. I've wanted to grow our own food, to teach my children the value in the work, to have a good reason to get my hands dirty on a regular basis.
For too many years, though, the investment wasn't there. The attention to detail wasn't around. The ears that needed to hear me weren't listening. The hands that built it didn't want to put in the effort for something like this.
Now, the time and the energy and the effort is there again. This planter box isn't just a planter box, as crazy as that sounds. It's so much more than that to me, to our family.
It's just some wood and some screws. I know. I didn't say it made sense.
Last, the pile of baby stuff in the basement.
It's sat there for years. Some has been given away to friends and family, some has been thrown away if it was broken. A lot of it is still down there.
I've carried it up the stairs more than once, intending to donate the rest of it. Then I carried it back down because I couldn't.
I know that there is no reason to keep it.
I know that even though I would love to have another baby, it probably will never happen.
I know that even if it did, all this stuff is old and would need replaced anyway.
Yesterday, friends of ours came over to pick up the play structure our kids outgrew. With them, their infant son. My kids swarmed around him like a moth to a flame. One by one, they took trips to the basement and brought that baby stuff up to play with him. Some of it went home with the friends. They can use it, I told myself. It's okay to let it go, even if it's just one piece at a time.
I let some of it go, I put the rest of it back down there.
Then I cried.
It's just old stuff that no one here uses. I know. I didn't say it made sense.
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