Thursday, August 10, 2006

Throwing Away My Past

I've been sitting here for the last few days, immobilized, completely and utterly overwhelm, looking at what amounts to a mountain of ephemera. I mean this is not only a lifetime, it is well over 7 lifetimes as I have not only saved the scraps and evidence from mine, my husbands, and my 5 children's lives, but I also inherited the same from my grandparents home (they also had 5 children). Granted, they didn't save as much as I have, but I do have the equivalent of 3 underbed boxes full of their pictures that go all the way back to my great-great grandparents. What a treasure, right?

Well, if I die, how will my children sort through all of this...JUNK? I believe that God is really convicting me about being so tied to the past, and the material trappings of it. My poor kids would have a HUGE job ahead of them if I don't do something with it. It would be literally impossible to move if we had to with all of this stuff. Yet when I sit down to go through it...I just can't get rid of it. My youngest's first pair of tiny. My middle's first pair of ballet shoes when she was 3. My oldest's graduation programs, invitations, and awards. My boys' sports awards. Ticket stubs to the kids first pro baseball game. Cards to me from hubby where he wrote such sweet things. How do I get rid of all of that????

Granted art work, kid's school papers, things like that are fairly easy until I come to the first drawings. (My oldest started drawing people as heads with tails.) I have those for each of my kids, dated and translated as to what they are. My oldest daughter was a prolific story writer and I can document her progression into a GOOD story teller. How can I throw those out?

Yet still I hear, "What are you teaching your kids, Joy?"

I am not teaching them to preserve the past. I am teaching them to HOLD ON to the past. I am teaching them to be packrats. I am teaching them to be sentimental and to trap themselves with possessions. Surely this isn't what God had intended for us.

I know how freeing it would be to be rid of it all (not the pictures of course) I imagine a cleaner house and more time to actually work on my scrapbooks rather than constantly be trying to catalogue and find places for all of this. I have always wanted to move to a house in the country, but the though of moving all of this...NO WAY!

What brought this up was when we tried to move our office to another smaller space so my boys could have seperate rooms. All that stuff had to come out of it's spaces and now it is staring me in the face. I am overwhelmed now with the thoughts about what else is in my closets, cabinets and drawers. I don't even want to think about the attic and garage. When we moved to this house-which is the house I grew up in by the way-I inherited stuff in the attic and garage from my mother and my brother's family who lived here while my brother went back to school. 40 some odd years of stuff is in that attic. And I am so sentimental, I could probably find some attachment to all of it.

I know I need to do it. Just get rid of it all and free myself and my family. I've been trying. I'm making myself sick over it. Not that I ever look at the stuff, but just knowing it's there. When I do look, I re-live. I missed so much of my kids from my own stupidity and a period of time when I wasn't really all here. How can I let go when that's all I have left? My oldest is fledging, the next one is just shy of fledging, the middle one is already working all the time.

I blinked. I missed it. I'm not sure I can move on. I used to think I would be soooo glad when they were all gone. Now I think empty nesting is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done. With five, it is always noise, noise, noise. I have grown to love that. When the kids have friend over and they are all talking excitedly at once, I sit back and feel like my home is so full of joy. At Christmas when everyone is excited and playing around with each other, I stand back and am filled with warmth. What am I going to do when everything is silent? Truly one of my greatest fears is to spend Christmas alone.

See? I am too sentimental! I have to stop this madness. I have one child who is even more sentimental than me! I have to save her!!!!! I'm off to do the deed...well, to try again anyway.