Why do I have a grip like kryptonite on the kid’s stuff? They’re no longer kids and have moved away. Yet the memories these things elicit keep me holding on. The attic is filled with boxes of memories. But twenty years of an empty nest says that it’s time to move the things along in case we decide to move as well. But it’s not easy to let go.
My grown-up kids say to give it all away. But I can’t. I feel like I’m saying goodbye to those precious, exhausting, now idealized younger years with them. And what if they want these things in the future? So the stuff remains, like bread crumbs leading me back to when they lived at home.
My wise husband, hoping to help, suggested sorting the harder-to-part-with items by category and taking pictures of them. This worked to simultaneously loosen my grip and clear out the attic.
We started with baby toys. These were stored away in anticipation of our grandchildren playing with them. Well. Big surprise. We don’t have grandchildren. And some of the toys, packed away for decades didn’t stand the test of time and had to be tossed. Even I saw that. Tucked a few special ones in a new box in case anything changes. Gave a few away.
The rocking chair went to a consignment store along with some children’s lamps and wall decorations in good condition. Many other things including prom dresses and coats went to area thrift stores.
We continued taking pictures of kid-approved de-acquisition items including video games, toy cars, Halloween costumes, ice skating outfits, sports equipment and crayons! Now I visit with the pictures and can also see the attic walls for the first time. There’s more room for their own treasure boxes of report cards, reports, awards and photos.
Some things I can’t let go, like coming home for the first day outfits, drawings and hand-made cards, books we read together over and over, the easel. But taking pictures helped me to hold on less tightly and made it easier to let go.