Do you have issues letting go of sentimental items? I do, well, a little anyhow. I've learned over the years how to contain my sentimentality. Take for instance, my kids little things. How many of you keep kids clothes, toys, special little items that remind you of their baby-dom or childhood? I do. However, with three kids this can get out of hand quickly. So, when Ren was born I came up with a solution. I went and bought a plastic bin with a lid. I put the sentimental things in this bin. 1 bin, for all 3 kids. Not three separate ones. My bin is full at this point, so if I want to add something else to it, I have to take something out. It really has made me value what's truly important to remember.
Yet, my delimma lies in A. Before the holidays we cleaned out the kids rooms. Letting go isn't an issue for Ren or CS, but for A it is. I allow her to choose what to let go and we then take them to donate. I don't always take things to the Goodwill. Sometimes we give them to the preschool, or to the baby/nursery room at church. Other times I take them to the local homeless shelter or the women's crisis shelter. To be honest, it depends on the item and condition as to where it goes.
Well, a few nights ago, A broke down. I mean sobbing. Chuck and I were at a loss. We had NO IDEA what was wrong with her. This came out of the blue while we were having our down time before bed. Once we got her settled, she told us what was wrong. She wanted her small white bear with the red ribbon back. Chuck, typical Dad here, had no idea what she was talking about. I knew right away. She had a bear her great-grandmother gave her. It was white with a red ribbon that said "Kennywood" on it. Well, she decided she wanted to donate it before Christmas. So, off to the crisis center it went. Now, she wants it back.
We talked to her about the bear and she couldn't come up with a reason why she wanted it back. She just kept saying "how do I get my toys back when I grow up Mommy?". Oh, the pleas of a child. How do you make them understand that when you are an adult, you no longer play with toys? We told her that we would never, ever donate her most special toys. That those will be with her forever (if you know her, we're talking Sally and Skittles here). We also reminded her that she chose to donate it. We also calmly told her how proud we were that she donates her toys she doesn't play with and that some other child now has something to love because of her generosity. I know, kind of deep, but it seemed to work. Then she ask about it again this morning.
Our solution to the problem is one I came up with. We will be donating toys again soon (our house rule is for every toy in, one goes out) and I think it's time A took the trip with me. I realized that unless it's taking them to the Goodwill, I've never taken the kids with me. Mostly for selfish reasons. I just didn't want my kids exposed to the harsh realities of homelessness or abuse before they needed to be. I don't think that's the case with A any more. I think she needs to go and see a child with no home or toys be given something. I believe she would have an easier time if she saw the smile on a the face of a child she doesn't know. I think it's time my little independent spirited child be officially shown that life isn't always like ours. A is a child who has always been wise for her age, so I think she'll understand.
What's your suggestions for a solution?