Fading Photographs

In case you’ve wondered what I’ve been up to (instead of keeping up with my blog), here’s a partial answer. I have been inspired (once again) to reorganize my house. My inspiration this time came in the form of my son and his wife moving temporarily to Paris. He has been awarded a fellowship to study there for the next four months. They have pared down their belongings, which have been split between a 5 x 8 storage facility and our guest room. I happily cleaned out most of the closets in our house to shift things around and make room.

Shaq Attack

Shaq Attack

Of course, this unearthed many things and prompted me to have a garage sale, something I have repeatedly sworn I would never do again. But I often lie to myself and it will be worth the work if I make a few bucks from things that only take up room behind closed closet doors. For example, I have a Shaq action figure that belonged to one of my sons. I don’t know why I am attached to it, but I am. It might be harder for me to get rid of Shaq than it was for him to leave Orlando.  I made myself put a price tag on it, but it didn’t sell.  So, I’m stuck with it. The sad part is I’m glad, but I am mildly tormented by having it back in my closet.

And then there are the birth samplers. Nothing highlights the difference between sons and daughters like the dilemma of what to do with their birth samplers. In case you don’t know, a sampler is a piece of embroidery worked in various stitches, typically containing the alphabet or words and mottoes. Bob’s mom stitched birth samplers for all of our kids. These hung proudly in their nursery, depicting all the stats of the child’s birth.

By the time our kids were in middle school, the samplers were stuck in a closet. Now that I’m in clean-out mode again, I find myself in a quandary over them. My daughter was easy. She took hers and it now abides in one of her closets.

It wasn’t so easy with my three sons. I sent an email to them asking if they would like to have their sampler to cherish in their own closet.

Son #1, “That’s the kind of thing moms keep forever.”

Wife of Son #2, “My mom gave me mine. It’s in my closet. I’ll put his with it.”

Son #3, “You can throw mine away.”

Me, “It’s about your birth. Your grandmother made it. I can’t throw it away. I’m having trouble throwing out an action figure of Shaq. Do you really think I could pitch this in the garbage?”

Son #3, “It won’t change anything. We’ll still be here. It’s not like Back to the Future where Marty’s photo of his family faded.”

Me, “I know. It just feels that way.”

So I guess Son #1 is right. It is the kind of thing moms keep forever. Some day my daughter will open my closet, find her brothers’ birth samplers, and throw them away. Thanks, Dena.