Sunday, August 07, 2005

Sentimental Journey

I am in the process of "purging" - getting rid of old toys that were well loved and used, clothes which no longer fit, and other items which have far outgrown their usefulness. This project is long overdue. The storage area in the basement was practically bulging at the seams - and my husband hasn't been able to get to his work area in months (I was going to say years, but I didn't want you to know how bad it is down there!).

I absolutely hate this job. It requires physical and mental stamina. I have to decide what pile to put things in - do I throw it away, do I keep it for "sentimental" reasons (only to throw it away in a few more years); and then if I do decide to keep it, I have to decide where to store it.

Not surprisingly, this process triggers memories. I found a little angel which DQ made for me to put on top of a little Christmas tree. DQ was only four years old, and it was our first Christmas in our new house. She excitedly handed the angel to me, wrapped with love and pretty paper, and begged me to open her gift first. As soon as I had opened it, and before I could even say how much I loved it, she grabbed the angel from and ran across two rooms to place it on top of the tree and proclaimed "See how pretty she looks, Mommy - and I made her all by myself". I also rummaged through tons of Barbie dolls and all of their little outfits and accessories. I remember the hours of play and delight the girls had on the balcony on our second floor, creating scenes with their imaginations where Barbie and Ken fell in love, got married, and had kids (in that order, too!). I feel a bittersweet twinge of nostalgia as these memories come to mind. My "babies" are teenagers, getting closer to spreading their wings and leaving the nest.

I ran across some of my old journals from eons ago. I haven't had the heart to open them up yet, because I know what is contained therein. I was such an unhappy sould for so long, so there is a lot of pain and anger and bitterness penned within those notebooks. I am half-tempted to just burn them, for I am not so sure I want my daughters to stumble upon them when I am gone someday. How would they feel about that person from so long ago? What would happen if they knew some of those secrets - would their opinion of me change, would they love me any less, or would they realize that the pain I went through is what makes me the person I am today?

The "purging" I did in those journals is much like the purging I am doing in the basement. I got rid of old feelings and hurts and disappointments, kept some of the good things about myself, and stored all of my experiences in certain compartments in my soul so that I don't repeat the same mistake twice and I can hold on to lessons learned.


At 8:36 AM, Blogger Barbara said...


I know what you mean. All those memories locked up and triggered by the sight, or sound or smell of something, hidden way for so long - just leaping alive into your brain! To throw - or not to throw - bin is the question?

And your journals? tricky!

We have all our love letters boxed away in the loft. SOme of them are are all lovey dovey and some are a little racy - do I want our children seeing those? Hubby thinks they are testament of our love and we should not be ashamed and that they, as adults (as they will be God willing, when they have to sort the stuff out) and that they should be left..meanwhile they just sit there.....

Let me know what you decide to do?

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Mrs. Diamond said...

Hi Valerie, i'm not a packrat, but occasionally we also have to go through the toys and clothes and junk and get rid of stuff. It's such a good feeling to purge!

I'd keep the journals if it were me. I've had my unhappy times too, but the good thing is that I passed THROUGH those times....the important thing to record is that you don't have to stay unhappy and the journey from sad to joy!!!

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Paul said...

A typical man answer is all I can give you, "I don't know, do what you want."
I've sat here thinking about your quandry and of course, don't know everything within those journals. I would hope to get some understanding of you, more than what you gave me outwardly. Not that that wouldn't be enough, it is for most kids whose parents take secrets with them.
I want my kids to understand more than they know and more than they have asked or cared to know so far. Perhaps if I had written or better, begin to write now, someday they would take the time to read who I was, like me or not.
I'd keep them, but that's just me and I have to tell you, I'm often wrong.
Good Luck.

At 7:46 PM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Barbara: Yes, I'll be sure to let you know what I decide!
Mrs. D: Yes, I am proof positive that you have to live THROUGH those tough times in order to get to the good times. I think my kids would benefit from knowing some of the lessons I learned along the way - but perhaps not HOW I learned them!!!
Paul: Your typical man answer is SO MUCH like my husband's - it cracks me up! He always says "whatever makes you happy". The problems is - I just want his OPINION. I'm not asking his permission, just what he thinks. Oh well - I am not complaining, I know he loves me and his goal has always been to make me happy (pretty good, after 30 years of marriage, huh?). Thanks for your comment - I, too, want my kids to know me at a deeper level.


At 11:44 PM, Blogger Paula said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. The water color ponies run away too fast. My attic is filled with my children's things. (((hugs))) It doesn't matter who you used to be, what matters is who you are now.


At 12:17 PM, Blogger Gina Burgess said...

Valerie, all I can say is that you have a blessing in all the lessons you learned. Sometimes our kids don't need all the information ;)

I have nothing left from 22 years of marriage and 2 beautiful little girls growing up. All the things from grandmother-made dresses to books to stuffed animals to china and silverware to my antique piano that I learned to play piano on were put in storage and my ex neglected to pay the bill. I found out that it's just things. The true treasure is what we tuck away in our hearts. I also found out there are some things that children do not need to know about our life lessons because they must learn them on their own turf in their own way.

I can imagine what's in those journals. I had tons of anger to get rid of at one time. The fact that you've risen above that part of your life and God has made you better for it means that you do not have to revisit it or relive it. Put it away and give God the glory for the great things He has done. I'd say, toss the journals and live today not yesterday.


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