As regular readers might recall, I am decluttering. Still.
In an effort to preempt the last-minute scramble leading up to moving day (which is still months off), I’d made the goal this summer to put my hands on literally everything we owned. To hold it, judge it, and decide whether or not it was to be kept or discarded or given away. (Or sold, much to the chagrin of The Husband who doesn’t like tag sales.) And this clearing out of stuff has had me pondering posterity.
As tweenagers, The Children are relatively young – and frankly uninterested in whether or not they would like me to keep their locks of hair or baptism outfits or the Olive Juice knit trousers they wore everyday for the first three years of their lives. Possessions like that are entirely under my purview. And I’m ok with that.
Easier to deal with are the non-negotiables, of course. The stuff we all want to see again at some point in the future. The wooden blocks – which are the very same ones I played with. Special books, both hard and softcover. And the Legos, the quantities of which are vast and encompass decades of building memories since The Husband’s Legos are now intermingled with his sons’.
But what about the negotiables? Or those items that only a little girl (or a grown woman) might be interested in? An obvious question for the mother of sons to ask. So I did the considered and reasonable thing: I phoned my mother. Who listened attentively and then, as she is wont to do, suggested that I think it through. Generally, that means talking it through. Out loud. While she’s listening. So that she can hear more specifically my concerns and then offer advice.
As I mentioned, my particular area of concern is ‘girl things’. My sons don’t want my wedding dress. My sons don’t want my bags and purses. Or scarves. Or jewelry. Or hers or even my grandmothers’, for that matter. Books, dishes, furniture, I can share with them regardless their gender; chandelier earrings bought at a vintage shop in Vienna? Not likely.
Was I silly to even worry about these things, I wondered. My mother wondered the same thing. I pondered the treasures I knew about that I’d lost to time – and to other female relatives. Treasures I had pointed to, grinning like an idiot in an effort to entice them to hand it over, only to hear my mother and/or grandmothers say: ‘What? This? You want this? Oh, sweetheart, you don’t. It’s out of style and I only wore it with those ugly trousers/awful skirt/to baseball games.’
It’s out of style? And you didn’t like wearing it? I couldn’t understand these women. I would wear it. And, as we women know, styles always return, don’t they? Especially the ones we’re adamant about not seeing again. Hello, parachute pants.
But here my mother commiserated with me. Recollections were made and remorse was discussed. I didn’t want the future women in my life – or the lives of my sons or my sons’ sons (I know I’m pathetic) – to feel the pang of being deprived of a treasure that I had in my hands now but no longer used or wanted or wore with the wrong trousers.
And so we commenced a dissection of the cache via skype, where frankly she surprised me with what she suggested I keep and what she thought I should get rid of. In the end it was decided that I need a trunk.
‘If I’m going to keep this stuff, I have to keep it somewhere.’ I stated the obvious. ‘I’ll need a trunk.’
‘Then get a trunk.’ My mother is efficient with her advice.
‘So you’re saying that I need a trunk and that it should be Louis Vuitton?’ I asked. I am innocent as a lamb.
‘Oh yes, of course.’ She replied flatly. ‘That wouldn’t be too much. And would keep well.’ I could hear the sardonic tone in her response.
And then our laughter began. I made the comment about following her admonition to always reach for the best. That if something was worth having, it was worth having the best.* And that trunk would be both ‘best’ and a good place to preserve and store heirlooms for posterity.
And she agreed. Still chuckling.
I haven’t purchased a trunk yet – as I haven’t been to the store that shall not be named to start the search. If anyone knows where I can get a one worthy of holding my heirlooms, please let me know. Or if you have any more bright ideas about what to do with potential heirlooms, I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.
*My parents have provided me with the ‘invaluable bookends’ in life – to both seek the best and do your best. I thank them.