Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Addicted to Stuff

Moving for the 3rd time in the span of 2 years has enlightened me to a very sad truth. I'm addicted to STUFF. I hate stuff, and I love stuff. I have way too much of it, which I hate, yet I want to hold on to it because I "love" it.

Why do I save things like the boys' big Duplo blocks? (duplos are the giant versions of legos that toddlers play with) I'll tell you why. Because I intend to have grandchildren play with those blocks and I'll take pictures of them and put them in frames next to pictures of their dad playing with those same blocks. I'm insane like that. I also enjoy playing with Duplo blocks a great deal myself...which is probably at the heart of the entire matter. Sadly.

Why do I keep a box full of the extra papers and worksheets that didn't make it into the already bulging scrapbooks I made for the boys for each of their school years? I don't know. Maybe I think that one of them will invent the pill that cures cancer and I'll be in charge of setting up a museum chronicling each detail of their life including all the hours they spent being bored in a classroom doing mindless worksheets. I mostly saved the ones that have cute little scribbles or doodles on them since this stuff somehow gives me a glance into the inner-workings of their little minds. What I'm saying is, I actually DID throw a ton of things away. But I have these. And I want to keep them. Why?

Why do I save so many books? I'm going to be honest here...and this is a testament to the fact that as much as I think I trust in God, I simply do not fully trust. I actually think that maybe at some point, like when I'm dead, my boys might find some of those books I had that were particularly meaningful to me and read them. They might be inspired or touched in such a way that they will live their lives with more purpose or be more able to weather the storms of their lives. I should just pass those books on or get rid of them and allow God to take care of my boys the way He is now. But...what if God is the one inspiring me to save them so that my boys will one day read them? See how nuts I am?

Listen to this one. I've got this little wooden curio type thing that I bought when Daniel was a baby. It's little wooden blocks that spell out Daniel, one letter on each block, and then there's a little wooden Bible character (Daniel) and a little wooden lion that goes with it. In all the divorcing, moving, blah blah blah - the N from the set of blocks is missing. So, it can only spell Daiel. BUT....if you position the little lion just right he sort of takes the place of the N and it still looks like it says Daniel. And I have this thing in a box and I can't get rid of it. I hate it and I love it.

If the first step is admitting you have a problem...then...here I am. Step 1.

What next?

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Curlz said...

My vote is definately for keeping the little curio - how absolutely adorable!!

I totally get the block thing, personally I was highly attached to lincoln logs, which I had far more of an interest in than my children did.

"Getting into their little minds" - I'm there! Any artwork (doodle or otherwise) gets framed or saved. Old worksheets however, were promptly shipped off to grandparents for their refrigerator displays, then I didn't have to throw them out!

Praying for you in your move - that is ALOT of work!

Norm! said...

My mom is infamous for throwing out everything during her spring cleaning -- even things we were still using. While I was upset with the lost stuff at the time, I can't say I've ever regretted not having anything she has thrown out.

I now find it more annoying having to haul junk around during each move. It's much easier to put stuff I no longer need or use in a garbage bag and taking it to a thrift store or dump. If I need to reminiscence, I can stroll through the thrift store aisles.

BTW, I'm pretty sure future historians will thank you for not making them sort Duplo blocks and worksheets for you sons' future presidential libraries. :)

kurt_t said...

Things that I have never thrown out despite multiple moves:

a Barbie Makeup Head from the Goodwill.

a book that I have never read entitled Mad Rapture, published in 1926.

the Elvis Tortilla.

a map of the United States Jell-O mold.

a styrofoam "straw" hat from Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor that my Grandma gave me when I was 12.

Top that.

grace said...

Curlz: ok...because of you DAIEL, his bible guy and lion are staying with me for one more move. I think that means you are an enabler.

Norm!: I'm still chucking inside over the presidential library.

Kurt: I must bow in reverence to you, all hail the king of pack rats.

Mark and Patrick said...

Wow! I understand the dilema. It is really really hard to get rd of stuff!
Since 2001 due to many life situations....I have moved 12 times. I simply had no choice but to purge what I feel like was tons of stuff!
With each of those moves a little more and more starting being eliminated. I think I got that from my mom...she saved everything! 8 kids and she still has every school paper from kindergarten on for all of us! Can you imagine!

Pam, I think I've replaced almost everything I tossed since moving from Dallas and into a house!

Kurt you are a riot!

Kat said...

Okay, I have an idea....don't hurt me because I think of doing this one myself if there are things I just can't part with but don't need. Take the stuff you don't want to part with but may stay in boxes and never again see the light of day and cremate them.....then make a really cool urn and put the ashes in them. By cremate, I mean perhaps a bonfire-roast hotdogs and marshmallows event-then save the ashes. Okay, I should warn you that I'm someone who thinks there should perhaps be a crematorium for old moldy stuffed animals so that we can keep them forever but not sneeze from their mildew or dust. Okay, I know this makes me somewhat certifiable, but the ashes could be put in the garden or in the aforementioned artistic urn. This way, you will still 'have' the stuff, but they will take up less space.

Kat said...

and furthermore............
I paid for storage for an ancient wingbackchair that my father used to nap in....I spent thousands on the storage rental before I got (smart?) and tossed boxes full of "stuff" and brought the aforementioned chair home. It sits in the backyard, has been rained upon SEVERAL times and should be taken to the dump. I still want to have it redone. Likely I will take it to the beach for a proper cremation in one of the many firepits. You laugh, but everytime I think of that my papa's old chair sitting in the local landfill, I tear up...(I said I was certifiable! ;o)
I'll take some good photos and then perhaps bid it good bye. (sniff)

Iain said...

Hi, Grace,

This isn't really a comment on your last post, but I just wanted to say I've only just come across your blog, and to say how uplifting (and moving and saddening all at once) it has been to read your writings.

You have been through absolute heartbreak, and have written about it in a way that is so inspiring that I'm running out of ways to express it. I'm sure many of your friends here have put it much more eloquently than I could.

I am a "straight" Christian from the UK. (I put the word in inverted commas because I don't really like a word that means "not bent", though it seems the gay community accept that word). Lately I have felt the sense that God is calling me to speak out about the issue of homosexuality, and the attitude of the evangelical church towards gays.

Since looking into all this, I've met some truly inspirational Christians, both gay and straight.

Speaking out about it has felt a bit like "coming out" itself. I've had some good email exchanges with a Christians In Science email list, and some that show lamentable bigotry. I've been accused of being a "liberal" on the issue of sexual ethics (I am an evangelical), and asked if I approved of heterosexuals leaving their wives for another woman, etc. As if I ever could!

I've been reminded recently of a poem written in 1961 by Yevtushenko, called "Babi Yar", in which he protests about the anti-semitism in the USSR. He writes at the end something like "There is no Jewish blood in my veins, but I feel the hatred of the anti-Semites as if I were a Jew. That is why I am a true Russian".

In a similar vein, when I see people who use condemning hate-language against gays, I also feel their bigotry as if I were gay myself. This sense of empathy with thouse who are hurting is what part of being a true Christian means for me.

My very best wishes and prayers for you and Tdub. You can be sure that your blog will be on my reading list from now on!

grace said...

I love your mom!!! ;)

I've not been ignoring your suggestion...I'm just now on the "other side" of the move which meant I was without internet for a few days...oh the horror!...(wish i were kidding)....i think, for certain items, the incineration/ashes thing might actually be the best route. I used to say to Tdub all the time "it's all gonna burn" when he'd be overly attached to things like ticket stubs and the like. The thing is...I have the same problem and his keepsakes were merely insignificant to me, which made me give him a hard time about it. I gotta give it to him, though, at least ticket stubs don't take up as much room as entire boxes of my babydolls from childhood. I did pare those down to my two favorites...which I'd never consider turning to ashes! yikes! I've made a cute little display for my room by placing a few toys from childhood with a couple of baby things of mine...all displayed beautifully in and on the wooden seat from what was my high chair. All I need on it now is a photo of me sitting in the chair as a baby. Which...I WILL procur! I'm a monster!

I'm humbled and honored by your comment and will get back to you later, maybe in email. I'm still unpacking now and don't have time to really "unpack" your thoughts. But I do appreciate you and thrilled to have a "comrade" in Christian love such as you!

Iain said...


Just to say I've expanded on the "Babiy Yar" stuff on my own blog site (which I update sadly all too infrequently!) Feel free to take a look.


Kat said...

Pam, dolls I could never burn! I shudder at the thought! Plus, right now, I'm all talk and little action. I'm giving most of my children's books to the school where I've substituted the most and they will in turn be given to kids who can't afford books. Hopefully, I'll do better when school is out for the summer. Hopefully....

Carol said...

Pam, I have a whole basement full of toys and stuff I can't part with. I have my kids's stuff and MY own toys - like Barbie, Legos, and a stack of games just came from my dad's house (Uncle Wiggly game, 1953 Scrabble, Racko, Perfection, SUPER-Perfection, and about 10 more). I think they'd have to bring in "Clean House" for me to get rid of some of it. I never know if it's something that holds a special memory for one of my kids, and I wouldn't want to throw something like that away. Funny thing is how much LIKE that some of my kids are, while another one of them can pitch ANYTHING.