Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The things we keep

Although M might beg to differ, I consider myself pretty minimalist in the sentimental keeping of stuff department. Each child has a small tupperware bin into which I throw things like the first picture of Mommy that C drew, A's birth announcement, and C's first "report card." There are no locks of hair, there are no baby hats or receiving blankets, and almost all of the baby items and toys have gone to various charities or the church nursery.

But tonight I found myself digging through the toy box in A's room because M thought it might smell like skunk. I figured since I was digging through and sniffing for skunk, I might as well clear out the junk and save myself the hassle of moving it. As I sorted through, several items quickly hit the "try to wash" pile. The pink and purple baby blanket Nana knit. The white waffle blanket that was originally C's, but A quickly adopted as her "blue blanket." Baby Ellie, the small stuffed elephant that is sometimes requested as a sleeping companion. "Duckie," the yellow floppy blanket that Auntie Joy sent A for her first birthday. Several other items quickly hit the trash can: the collection of junky Easter bunnies, the rattles that neither of my kids ever actually shook, the wooden shape sorter that cost a fortune but was actually not at all useful as my kids quickly figured out that if you turned the shapes on their side you could shove them into whichever opening you wished.

But there were several items that I saved from the trash can at the last moment. The soft cloth cat book that C adored with a passion from six to eight months and then never looked at again. The pink bunny that made A giggle when she had pneumonia. The broken parts to the mobile that C would stare at for hours (ok, minutes) while I wept on the phone to anyone who would listen to how miserable I was post-partum. I know that someday I will probably discard all of these items. But I couldn't quite do it. Not yet. Not tonight. So instead I will lovingly soak them all in laundry detergent and hope for the best. Because some things are worth saving, at least for a while.