BY MADISON FREDERICK
I couldn’t believe it! I was totally shocked. My husband called me a hoarder the other day. Imagine my surprise and pain when he blasted me with this label.
I am not a hoarder! I am a keeper of special memories. Many times those memories are attached to things. Let me clear up another issue. I am not a “Material Girl” either (apologies to Madonna). Memories are often connected to things in my house. Those memories bring me joy and comfort. The objects (I did not say “clutter”) in my home are very special to me because they represent people, relationships, and events which are important to me. My husband’s response is that he doesn’t need things to remind him because he has the memories of these special events and people which no one can take away. News flash! Your memory is not what it used to be, Big Guy!
Truthfully, being a former theatre teacher, I have to fight the urge to “collect” all things that might be useful in some future under-funded production. However, I can recall many instances when my keeping a trendy piece of clothing or an outdated accessory has been needed. One example of this is when my girlfriend who was an HR executive was preparing for a themed ‘70s conference and called to ask me for help. I gave her a pair of platform shoes and a fringed vest and voila! She was strutting to strains of Stayin’ Alive.
In fairness to my hubby, his response to this justification is:
“You can rent this stuff. We don’t have to keep everything.”
But there is something to be said for AUTHENTICITY.
The lament I have heard from many Boomers is:
I don’t want the kids to have to go through all this junk when I’m gone.
Baloney! Why rob your kids of this unique experience? The time I spent going through my parents’ things was a marriage therapy exercise for my husband and me. After a family member passes, you really get down to the essence of their lives when purging their belongings. We had a chance to reminisce about them and laugh and cry (and fuss about what I should keep!). It was a beautiful thing.
Have you ever had your feelings hurt when you try to give something you cherish to your adult child who gives one of these responses?
“Mom, we don’t have room for that.”
“We don’t need that.”
“No thanks. We wouldn’t use it anyway.”
I rest my case. Hang on to the things you love for as long as they bring YOU pleasure. Don’t risk pain by expecting your wonderful children to treasure your treasures.
I have been blown away by what my children wanted to keep from their grandparents’ houses. The lovely antique tea cup passed from generations ago was tossed aside along with the carefully preserved 100-year-old Christening gown for the worn out Lazy Boy recliner used by a granddaddy. Could it be those memories of sitting on Granddaddy’s lap?
It is just possible that one day after you have passed, your adult child will thoughtfully say, “Oh, I remember this. My mom used to love this.”
And THAT is when your treasured memories will be valued.