Letting go

I’ve become one of those people who rarely hangs on to things for sentimental reasons.  Stuff gets passed on, recycled, trashed… and the memories live on in my mind, or as increasingly happens with my mind being less reliable, in my photos. There are a few things, mostly items that remind me of someone who is no longer here, but the rest gets dealt with pretty quickly.  I am especially brutal with the lils artwork and Willy’s huge collection of twenty year old concert t-shirts that he never wears, but they seem to have bought into the system, and occasionally ask me to take pictures of stuff so that they can get rid of it.

This week reminded me that I’ve become attached to a thing.  Ironically, I am attached to it because of a photo, one I took when Woo was a wee boy.  It was a snowy day, and he was propped up in the yard, keeping me company as I shovelled.  I love this photo.

Snowy Boy

I’ve hung onto the snowsuit that he wore that day, even though I have had opportunity to sell it, to donate it, to give it away.  It reminded me of that day, that first winter with my lil boy, my first year as a mom. I didn’t need a snowsuit to remind me of those times, the pictures worked too. But I couldn’t let it go. As time passed, and it became apparent to me that this was becoming a thing, I tried to let go, but failed repeatedly, thinking that I would be ready in a year’s time.

This year, when we were searching for snowsuits for the Snowsuit Fund, Woo found this old suit and I let him bring it out.  It went to the donation pile, got washed and packed away, then sat on the floor by the door for a few days before I found the time to drop the items off.  Each time I looked at it, I fought the urge to hide it away for “just one more year”.  Knowing that my resolve was weakening, I made a quick trip out today, dropped off the bag and then drove away fast, before I could change my mind.

As I helped the lils go through their toys looking for donations tonight, I was glad that I had successfully dropped off the snowsuit today.  They were struggling with letting go of some toys that they no longer play with, and my struggle this week allowed me to be more understanding to their perspective.  Instead we talked about why they wanted to keep the stuff and why they might want to give them away.  In the end, they kept most of the items that they were on the fence about, but did donate some.  I let them know that it is even hard for Mommy to part with things that she loves but doesn’t need anymore. I didn’t let them know that I am still a little sad that it is gone.

Category: life, Lils, Parenting, Photography | 3 comments

  • Sarah says:

    I hear ya — brave woman and great example for your kids.

  • Lynn says:

    Oh, it’s the right thing but yes, so sad. I let myself keep one outfit from the baby year of each kid that had meaning to me, but even now I look back on photos of them when they were younger and feel nostalgic and sad that those outfits/hats/scarves/tiny tiny shoes are gone now. I was just lecturing my youngest yesterday when she wanted to keep an outgrown T-shirt that we absolutely cannot keep everything – and yet, I have to fight the same impulse all the time. It’s so hard to let go!

  • Kathy says:

    My sister kept some memorable outfits from her boys’ baby years – items that were adorable but which they wore only a few times. After she died in 1994, I kept the small box of clothes until one of her sons had a son and I gave him the box along with photos of him and his brother wearing the outfits. I had struggled with whether to save or give them away over those 12 years – I’m glad I kept them and gave him that link to his mom. But after reading your ‘letting go’, I realized that it doesn’t matter anymore whether he saved the outfits or not – I have the memories and now the photos of his son in them.


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