Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Me & Mom’s Menagerie

Now that Mom is retired, she finally has time to go through all the “stuff” she has managed to accumulate over the years. And, since she is an ever-evolving person, she’s decided to try and sell some of it on ebay. My web savvy cousin Candice is going help her.

Due to this, Mom and I have been having this interesting little back and forth conversation. I want to look at the stuff she is putting on ebay BEFORE she puts it on, in case it is something important to me - something I want to remember my childhood or my parents by.

Mom doesn’t understand this. After all, it’s HER stuff, and she can do with it what she wants. And if makes her a little extra money, then that’s even better. And she insists it’s nothing I would want anyway.

We’ve had this conversation several times. The main points:

Me: Let me look at the stuff before you sell it. I might want some of it.

Mom: It’s not your stuff, besides you wouldn’t want it anyway.

Me: How do you know that? You didn’t think I’d want the big, brass duck-shaped bubble gum machine, and I did.

Mom: What would you do with the stuff, anyway? And what happens to it after you die?

Me: You don’t know what things I would want to remember my childhood by. And I’m only 28. There is still a chance I might be able to have kids and pass it on. And even if not, what’s the harm in me keeping important family heirlooms?

Mom: They’re not important. It’s mostly junk. I’m telling you, you wouldn’t want it anyway.

Rinse and repeat.

So, let me set the record straight. I have NO problem with Mom selling her stuff on ebay. That’s fine. The only reason I want to look at the stuff beforehand is because…well, that’s the tough part.

See, I love being an only child. Heck, I’d advocate for it. Except…one of the toughest parts of BEING an only child is that you have no one to share childhood family memories with. In other words, I can never say, “Hey, remember that time when Dad…” to anyone.

My cousins – CCC & B – can share memories of their deceased mom whenever they want to. They have a shared family heritage. I, on the other hand, only have my mom, and should she “go” before I do, I’ll have no one to reminisce over the things Dad or Mom did. Just me.

So it often helps my emotional state to be in the presence of the “things” that make up my memories. Like the big, brass duck – from when Mom went through her ducks-in-the-kitchen phase, and Dad used to say, “I don’t know whether to eat or hunt in here!”

Or the chocolate ceramic bunny Mom put out every Easter. Now I put it out. Every time I look at it, I smile, remembering closet doors slamming and crawling under the couch to look for my hidden Easter baskets as a kid.

Yes, they are just “things,” and I know people are more important than things. But I don’t HAVE as many people as most, so I hope you can excuse my little emotional need to have some “things” to surround myself with when I’m feeling nostalgic.

On the plus side, if Mom does decide to put it all on ebay, at least I can bid on it! And the cost of shipping won’t kill me.

No comments: