Memories

12 May

A couple weeks ago, after much hemming and hawing, I decided to donate my kids’ baby dressers (changing tables) to Goodwill.

My husband and I had talked about it for quite a while.  After months of trying to organize our kids’ rooms, we finally decided the dressers had to go.  They were big and bulky, taking up way too much room in what are already fairly small spaces.  And they didn’t even hold all our kids’ clothes!  We needed to just get rid of them, and hopefully someone else could use them.

But the first time I mentioned it to the kids, they freaked.  “What about our stickers?!” they cried.  Oh crap, I had forgotten about the stickers.  For years, we’ve let them decorate their dressers with stickers – I think it came about one bleary-eyed morning when we were just too tired to say no.  Every time each of our kids got a sticker anywhere (the doctor, a festival, a birthday party, the museum), they came home and put it on their dresser.  And our son, who had dozens of stickers on his, could remember where almost every single one had come from.

So I had to work really hard to convince the kids that we were doing the right thing, but I finally managed.  Apparently, however, I was the one who needed more convincing.  As the two men at Goodwill unloaded the last dresser out of my van, I surprised myself by bursting into tears.  My chest clenched up as I felt a panic in seeing the dressers move out of sight.  It was only the presence of my kids that prevented me from yelling, “Wait!  I changed my mind!!”

I know they’re just pieces of furniture, but that’s where I changed my kids’ diapers when they were babies, gave them their first washcloth baths after coming home from the hospital, and snorked out their noses when they were sick.  They’re monuments; tangible pieces of history in our lives, proudly displaying many moments of fun.  The top drawers, only recently emptied of big-kid underwear, used to hold nothing but diapers and wipes.

But I know it’s not exactly the furniture that I was pining for.  It was the infancy of my children, the brief and magical time when they were so small, so snuggly, so new.  Now I have a 5-year-old about to start Kindergarten and a 3-year-old who is as sassy as a teenager.  And it hurts because those baby days are such a distant memory…

I have the same feelings whenever I’m near the neighborhood where my grandparents used to live.  I always feel compelled to drive by what used to be their house and stop outside, just looking at it.  Their house was the family meeting place.  Every weekend, my mother’s siblings could be found there –  playing cards, making jokes, and laughing so loud my ears would hurt.  It’s a time in my life for which I am constantly nostalgic.

My kids aren’t babies anymore, and my grandparents are gone.  Sometimes, the physical objects that are left behind remind me so strongly of those memories, it takes my breath away.

I did manage to give up the changing tables, but I’ll never stop driving by that house.

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One Response to “Memories”

  1. Lisa May 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    Oh I understand. It’s the baby shoes and baby blankets that just kill me. I keep one my daughter’s teeny black Mary Jane’s in the top drawer of my nightstand!

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