I am a sentimental person. Things represent memories to me, and it takes a passage of time to separate the nostalgia from the stuff. The stuff is not as important as the memories made, I have to remind myself. I have gotten better at letting go of the things over the years, as I remember that I can still retain those memories without them.
So it is time to purge again. Clean out the extra and simplify. It's essential to a mom's survival- letting go of the old and moving on with the new. With every move and changing seasons with the kids, I have to assess the toys our family has accumulated- especially since we're moving into a smaller house.
We have almost always had a play space dedicated just for their collections, which means that a lot of colorful, inanimate objects sit on display there- sometimes untouched for weeks, months. Because the toys do not play with my kids, but wait for someone to manipulate their moving parts and breathe imaginary life into their stationary existence. Our kids figure out very quickly that those things will not make them happy, because they are unable to play back. It's the friends and family who make playing fun and create memories that matter- not toys. No wonder kids are so quickly bored with their stuff.
And yet, they have an equally hard time saying goodbye to the things that they own. I believe their struggle lies more in how they view their relationship with their toys- is their identity wrapped up in the things they possess? Does more stuff mean that you are more important in the eyes of others? Does is represent your worth? Making attachments to things means that a deeper need is probably not being met- a need for love. By showing our children that material things cannot provide true contentment and often tempt us away from relationships that truly matter, we're saving them some heartache in the future- and possibly terrible spending habits.
It doesn't mean that I struggle any less with buying the lie that purchasing shiny new objects will make my kids happy. The TV shouts it at us all the time. I joke with my three children every time Christmas rolls around and they see the barrage of toy commercials hitting the air waves: "Do you want that for Christmas? That's what they want you to do. Don't even think about."
It's true what they say, Stuff doesn't make you happy, and Money can't buy you love.
Let's remember today that time is more precious than the things that we own. That is what our kids will remember the most. Toys never reciprocate love, but you can.
Do you have any encouragement or words of wisdom for others that have trouble letting go of things? Share!