The other weekend, I dropped off some things at Goodwill. This wasn’t a regular drop off of old sheets, clothes, or shoes. In my trunk, I had a few items that represented the kids’ toddler years. Preschool games, toys, etc. that had been collecting too much dust and finally had just taken up too much space.
I’m sure I had attempted to take them to Goodwill before. They probably made it to the laundry room – the last room before the garage and the car. Some things may have even made it into the back of my vehicle. But then the nostalgic pull inevitably sent them right back to their place on the pantry shelves or closet – just one more chance to be resurrected and used again.
But this time, I didn’t let myself think for too long. A whirlwind of errands pushed me forward. And I did it. I made it all the way to Goodwill.
When I got there, it was like I was on sacred ground. With me, at the same time, were two other moms, pulling up with similar loads – games, toys, sporting equipment. We were all a bit older, evident in our smile lines, casual clothes, purposeful eyes. There was a silent understanding between us. We had walked sweet, young roads with our kids, and were moving on to more – but first, we had to shed some weight. The material possessions in themselves were worthless, dollars spent here and there for childish whims – but what they represented was priceless, heavy.
We accepted that our kids were different now. We were different now. As exciting as that was, there was also a sadness for what was past.
A couple days later, I could tell I was still trying to hold on. We were at a book store for the afternoon with all the kids. I immediately went to the children’s section, scanning through the picture books. Unknowingly, I had collected a whole stack in my arms. Ready to read. To any one of my kids. Whoever cared to listen. I knew they all would, but for how much longer would this last? I was in a desperate attempt to discover any hidden gems I had missed in the years to read before they were all past this stage. As their attention was waning – (how many had we read?!) – I wanted to just glue them down. Stop; hold on. Not yet. Don’t go. Just one more.
I celebrate growing up. I really do. But it’s also neat to lean in and feel it. To not just let it “happen to me,” but to participate in it, feeling it all. I never want to be one of the moms that laments how quickly the years passed, but to know that I experienced them all as best I could with my kids, fully aware, feeling deeply, and growing up, too.