In the ongoing effort to downsize before retirement, today was linen closet day. We’ve been in this house for sixteen years. That is fourteen years longer than any other place we’ve lived and those extra years gave us a lot of time to collect “stuff”. But, most of the things we’ve accumulated have little nostalgic meaning to me, so a lot of them are going to the give-away pile.
I was tossing things into that pile when my hand came up with this pillowcase. My heart skipped a beat, and the memories flooded back. I sent a group text to my sons.
Jason is the oldest. His comments were “That was mine goobers” and “Everything starts at the top and ends up at the youngest”. Josh, the middle son, said it belonged to all of them (typical middle child) and Jon, the baby at 36 years old remembers trick or treating using this pillowcase as a candy bag.
Then I pulled out three baby blankets, two belonging to my boys and one to my grandson. I couldn’t help it; the memories began to leak out of my eyes.
We haven’t even started on the boxes in the basement yet. There are 42 years of our life is in those boxes. Laundry room art made by the kids when they were in school ( oh come on, you know you did that too. It may have started out in the kitchen, but it made it’s way to the laundry room at some point). Old handwritten report cards with teacher comments (” Jason talks too much”, “Josh can’t sit still”, “Jon is too quiet”. I wish I could go back and tell the teachers that the boys were great just as they were, they all grew up and became such good men). Pictures, hundreds of them that chronical raising three boys and moving about a zillion times.
I don’t know how to begin to downsize those tangible memories.
We are at the end of something but also at the beginning. The years we spent raising kids, building a life and working are ending. The kids have been out of the house for some time now, but we’ve had this place, this house, “Mom and Dad’s”…for a Christmas once in a while, or whole family visits. The next chapter will be different. Just us, somewhere small ( maybe even BBoW). We’ll travel to see the kids and grandkids. No more “Mom and Dads” that will house the whole family. As excited as I am about the next chapter, I’m struggling a little with giving up this place.
I know the emotion is part of the process, and I know I’ll get there. After all, there are new memories to make.
But tonight, Lucy, Charlie Brown and Woodstock along with three baby blankets will take up residence on my bed, and I’ll wallow just a little in the old memories.