We’re doing a purge at our house. Actually, we’ve been doing it since the summer of 2011, when we started giving away and selling our son’s old clothes. We had just been blessed with our second child, a little girl, and had decided that we were not having more children. It was time to start parting with some of the outfits our boy had. I thought I was okay with it. I went through bins and bins of old clothes, washing them and putting them in piles according to season and size. I even arranged for meetings with consignment stores and private buyers for them. No big deal, I thought. However, several minutes after loading 3 huge boxes of items into another woman’s SUV, taking substantially less money than I said I would take, and then watching her drive away, I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had my son with me, and had promised him a treat since he, too, was letting go of part of his past (and we were at Tim Hortons, so it was impossible to pass up a donut and hot chocolate!). As we sat at a table, and he chattered on about toys he had seen advertised on TV, I couldn’t focus. All I could think of was losing a part of him. The outfit he wore in some photos with friends’ kids, and the Robeez shoes he wore on his itty bitty feet before he even started crawling. Gone. I tried to shake off the feeling that I had made a huge mistake, and continued on with the day, but later that night I couldn’t sleep. I wept quietly instead. The next morning I told my husband how upset I was. I’m sure he thought I was losing my mind, but he listened and was very understanding. He then reminded me that they were just clothes – things, items, pieces of material – and not my memories. That did help, although I ended up emailing the woman and asking – no, begging actually – if she would let me buy back one of the boxes full of clothes. I know, that sounds crazy. Maybe it was. She kindly agreed, but was not impressed.
The purge has gotten easier since then, thank goodness, because we honestly cannot keep everything from the childhood of our little ones. Most recently we’ve sold our high chair and our change table, which was somewhat difficult for me and the kids. We’ve also sold our crib, which, quite frankly, would be devastating if I allowed myself to really think about it. It not only means that we are getting older and are now past the stage (in our minds) of having babies, but that we won’t experience the excitement and joy of another baby (of ours) saying his or her first words, taking his or her first steps, and saying, “I love you” for the very first time. I just have to remember that we have had those experiences, and though we won’t have them again, we will have other significant experiences with our children as they grow older. And those things we’ve gotten rid of? They’re things. We can never get rid of our memories.