Monday, August 11, 2014
Culling the Abandonned Toys
I can easily go through my clothing and get rid of bagsful with no remorse. I can even flick books off of shelves and never even look through them before tossing them-- if they're mouldy or sticky, away they go. If they're books that I don't even remember reading, away they go. I don't acquire tons of kitchen things, and we don't even have a proper basement or an attic. But there is one area that makes me really sad to cull: the old grandchildren toys.
I never had trouble dumping the children's toys and outgrown clothing and equipment-- my sister-in-law and I would sling bags of baby clothes back and forth across the country to each other, not even sure who actually owned what. We were so happy to be finished with two-year-olds, with four-year-olds. No nostalgia there! When the first grandchildren arrived, I began to assemble a little collection of books and toys and art supplies for when they came to visit. And since the grandchildren have never actually lived with us, all my memories of their earlier selves and these earlier days are totally pleasant. Predictably, these toys have taken on a magical (if fictitious) significance.
But now the reality is that the really young grandchild lives far away and spends at most a week here each year; and the local grandchildren have grown far, far beyond the sacred toys. But still I retrieve these things from Jesse, I dust them sometimes, I don't even consider getting rid of them. And why on earth is that? Do I really believe the pre-teen kids themselves will come looking for that yellow plastic pounding toy? that dried out plasticene clay? And we'll all sit down for one more round of playing dinosaurs and lego man?
I decided to face the uncomfortable feeling and clean out the old toy shelves tonight. It felt risky to toss the plastic animals-- suppose someone wanted them? What would happen if the little raccoon book was gone? I'm really curious about this feeling of uneasiness about getting rid of stuff. Anybody care to comment?