Sunday, September 6, 2015

Keep, Donate...or Toss?

I have a hard time letting go of things that remind me of my boys--things that remind me of the days when our big old Colonial-style house was a lot fuller than it is now.  For many years, this house was filled with five growing boys, whose always loud (and after a while, very deep!), voices rang out in every room.  Those were happy days, filled with laughter and busy-ness and purpose, and anything that reminds me of them probably won't find its way into the "donate" pile anytime soon.

Those five sons eventually did the once unimaginable--of course they did: they grew up, they moved out, they started grown-up lives of their own.  And now, two (soon to be three) of the five are experiencing the joy of having their own homes starting to fill up with their own children.

So I should be ready to part with some of the stuff 'n things and this 'n that and bric-a-brac we accumulated over the 25-plus years we've lived in this house, right?  You know, some of the clutter that my sons wouldn't even miss if I boxed it up and carted it off to Goodwill?

You would think so, wouldn't you?

We are in the midst of renovating our downstairs half-bath/laundry room; and between that project and the even bigger project of getting ready to turn a house on the lake in Upstate NY into a VRBO vacation rental, I'm suddenly in the mood to cull through all the junk and get my house in order.  (When you live in one house for a quarter of a century, and you raise five sons there, it's amazing the stuff you'll accumulate!)

When we took out the old vanity in the downstairs bathroom, I realized that its drawers were holding a lot of useless items that we could toss.  So that got me thinking: what's hiding in the drawers of the vanity in the upstairs bathroom that our boys used to share?  I thought I remembered finally throwing away years-old acne creams a few years back (wow, was that long overdue!).  But look what I wasn't able to part with when I got rid of the ancient Clearasil containers.
Seeing the items in this drawer made me say, "Awwww...."

Because...look at these cute things.
On the left, a L'il Shaver shaving kit (we still have a pair of them).  When I look at this, I remember our two oldest sons playing at being men: brushing soap lather onto their smooth little cheeks and pretending to shave alongside their dad, using their red plastic razors.  Not gonna toss them.  Not yet.  Can't do it.

And the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cup on the right?  One Christmas many, many moons ago, all four of our oldest sons got TMNT toiletry kits from Santa, each with a toothbrush, a comb, a brush, a cup, a packet of tissues, and a little bag to carry it all in.  I put their names on all the items in their kits with a Sharpie marker, and they used these cups for years.  (The combs and brushes--not so much.)  These TMNT cups used to litter the vanity top in their bathroom.  Not gonna toss them either.  Nope.

Speaking of those "heroes on a half-shell"...even though we're trying to update our house a little, I'm not gonna remove this tacky Turtles switch plate in the upstairs hallway.  It's been there, under that precious picture of our four oldest doing their best TMNT impressions (Turtle power!), since just after we moved in, and I simply can't bring myself to say good-bye to it.  Not yet.  I don't care if Chip and Joanna Gaines or the Property Brothers would chide me for keeping it!  I don't!
But back to the drawers of that vanity.

How about this ridiculous item?
I tried to add a caption there, but it's so small you can hardly read it.  So I'll tell you what's going on here. That's a Spongebob Squarepants bath sponge.  My sons range in age from 22 to 31; how long do you think it's been since it saw any use?

Speaking of things that haven't seen any use in this decade (or the last one, either), here are a few more choice offerings.
Those captions aren't really working.  So I'll tell you that what we have here near the bag of cotton balls are a couple of syringes for giving medicine to infants, along with a rectal thermometer for taking an infant's temperature.  Every time I look at them they make me think, "I was a mommy with babies once!"  So no, I have not been able to toss them yet!


After perusing the drawers in the bathroom, I brought a load of stuff up to the attic (more stuff that we probably don't need, but that I can't part with just yet), and I cracked open a few of the large plastic bins up there.

One is filled with clothes; newborn-, toddler-, and little boy-sized.
Awww...son #3 wore that red dinosaur sweater on top of the pile for a family portrait we had taken at Sears, when he was just a little tyke.  And now he has a baby son of his own named G-Man, who tends to sport a lot of dino-themed clothing.

I'll go through that bin some other time.

Another bin is filled with dinosaur toys.
Some of these dinos were your daddy's, G-Man, and Grammy's saving them for you!

I also have lots and lots of used football and lacrosse gear squirreled away up in that attic: football knee pads, thigh pads, girdles, and practice pants and jerseys; lacrosse gloves, arm guards, shoulder pads, and helmets.
I actually asked my boys not too long ago if I should keep all of that for any reason, and they said no.  But I hesitated to give it the heave-ho, because my goodness, so many years of our lives were tied up with watching them play these two sports.  Then son #2's wife, Ginger, said she thought it would be neat if they had a son someday and could show him his dad's old sports equipment.  Boom!  Decision made: the football and lacrosse gear stays!  For the time being, anyway.

It's just STUFF, it shouldn't mean anything.  But it's all so intricately tied up with my family's history that I get misty-eyed just looking at it.

Because it all goes so fast, doesn't it?  If you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about.  Your children grow up in the blink of an eye.  And suddenly, your youngest is a college grad who's out on his own and hardly needs his dear old mom anymore...
Taken this weekend at Notre Dame, where my husband and I met up
with our baby and a whole bunch of other Pearls for the football opener.
Shucks, you know what?  No matter how big your sons get, or how long it's been since they pretended to shave with a L'il Shaver playset (because now they have honest-to-goodness man stubble on their faces)...they'll always need their mom.  I know they will.

And the next time that tall, handsome, grown-up guy in the picture above comes home, his Spongebob Squarepants bath sponge will be there.  Just in case he wants it.  For now, anyway.


  1. Oh my goodness that little shaving set is adorable!!! And good call keeping the dinosaurs - those will be a big hit :)

    1. I love the shaving sets. I think I'm saving them for our grandson(s). And I don't think I could ever give away any of the dinos. Even the T-Rex in the bin that's missing his head and arm!! :)