"Eventually we can relive our memories with real joy, grateful for them and even more appreciative of the time we had together. If you are in the midst of painful memories at the moment, take heart that it will not always be so." -Shirley Ottman
I'm not sure why I was crying. I was 'choosing' to get rid of my children's toys and belongings, unlike those deeply affected by Superstorm Sandy who's lifetime of memories were swept away with wind, rain and fire. As I stood with tears on my face I knew that families out east are coping with looking for the "littlest needle in a haystack" of memorabilia to cherish.
Our project was to transform the "toy closet" (yes, our house still has one and it was filled to the brim) into a sports equipment closet. It all sounded good in theory, but because I knew it would be painful in many ways I have been putting it off for months....ok, maybe years. Even Lee has said to me on occasion, "you know, you don't need my help". But, while I knew I did not need the physical help, I knew I would need the "emotional" help of going through the bins that were in there. While my three boys had many "crossover" toys(too bad I did not buy stock in Lego), they also had toys that were just their "thing". Walter's affinity with anything with an engine, John's obsession with anything Thomas the Tank Engine and Brio, and Henry anything related to sports. I remember when Henry was about 5, John had died a few months before, Walter and his dad were on a scout camping trip and Henry decided that he wanted to play with the Brio train set. I sat beside him wishing so badly that John was here to pick out the trains and track and the special little houses that went with the theme. Henry tried really hard to like these toys, but then said, "I don't know what John saw in this stuff".
Henry was very vocal about John when he was younger and the things that he wished he could have helped him with....especially with certain video games. It was well known that John was an expert in many a game, one in particular, Zelda. To this day, we have John's last saved game of Zelda sequestered in my own little treasure box. I often wonder what will happen to the things that I have saved of John's and that of Walter and Henry's dad, Walt when I am no longer able to be "the keeper".
One of the bigger items we unearthed was the Little Tykes doll house. I fought for this dollhouse at a garage sale on Maywood Ave. I remember one woman saying, "why do YOU want that...you have all boys!" What she didn't know is yes, I have all boys, but they are creative boys. That house became a school, a hospital, and even a jail! Walter came home from school one day and told me there were many handicapped people in the world and so for that Christmas he asked for the Little Tykes Wheelchair and ramp for the house to make it a school where EVERYONE could attend.
Lee asked me, "what about this owl clock?" I smiled through tears. For John's 3rd Christmas he had two items on his list, one, a plastic owl clock from Meijers, and two, Loreal Kids Strawberry Shampoo, however, he called it "G'loreal". The owl clock is orange and yellow, nothing fancy, it doesn't say anything, just stares at you and you physically have to move the "wings" around to indicate the time. Yes, saving the Owl clock.
While I held many special memories in my hand today, I was able to let go of many things to the benefit of others. While I still saved probably every match box car known to man, and anything related to Thomas and the Brio train set, it made me feel that while I am giving up the property, the memories live on through Walter, John and Henry.
I DO know why I was crying. Memories are powerful. Memories bring forth joy, pain and feelings of deep sadness. It was of my choosing to let go of the tangible memories that I held on so dear too. Many do not get this choice. I truly am blessed.