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It's not always that I let out my secrets on social media, or anywhere for that matter. It's difficult to do it because so many judge or comment or give advice that is unsolicited. But, I'm doing it today, because I know for many of you, this is your dark, dirty secret too!
My dark secret is that......I hoard, and hoard and hoard. Shamelessly at that! It's difficult to let go of things easily or readily. Some are too beautiful to give away, some others have had a lot of money spent on them, some are things I will never ever get again (because they were in fashion many years ago you see) while others have soooo many memories attached that it brings me to tears to part with them.
Why do I talk about hoarding all of a sudden?
A few days ago, I was changing wardrobes and generally cleaning up our stuff. As is usual with someone who hoards, the cupboard was filled with tonnes of things that have been accumulated over years....a shawl that was gifted to me by someone dear, clothes that I'd picked up for the child on one of my travels, small bobs and bits of jewellery and other things. While doing that I also had to clean the little one's stuff (we don't say 'big one' later, do we?), and get rid of a few of her things that have been there since years.
What I saw made me painfully aware of how getting rid of or giving away things is such a difficult task. What was difficult about it was that it wasn't the tangible stuff, but the intangibility of it I couldn't part with. Among the many things I found, were her handstitched godhadis (soft baby mats) where she'd be for hours together playing with her little legs, a dirty teether which had seen better and cleaner times, shirts which had been puked upon several times eventually losing their original color, and little booties which don't fit even her little toe anymore.
What I saw infront of me wasn't clothes, and materials and bits, but incidences that seemed overwhelming then but now were just beautiful memories. As young mothers, it often seems to us as if we are drowning in the sea of new motherhood, looking after a life who depends on us for everything. It makes us stressed, it gets us mad, it is annoying and overwhelming and terrifying and scary. The experience of motherhood is as new for us as life itself is for them. Yet, we look forward to times when it all gets easier, when we can have more time for ourselves. I did too, especially during times it got too much for me.
What we never realize, is that things don't last, time doesn't stand still. Children grow and think and do and develop identities that are different from us. That dependence they exhibit never continues for very long. As overwhelming as it is, we as parents cannot lose sight of living in the moment, of enjoying them and their blabber, the things they say and the mess they do.
I've learned to gradually let go, as difficult as it is for me. I've learned to savor the time we have, play, make messes (but get her to put things back into place), to not stick to a schedule and take life as it comes.
As far as I've seen, all of us take parenting way to seriously. I did too, for a very long time. We schedule their play time, get them into organized activities, break our heads over schools and boards and exams, see that their life follows a regimen (which is good in itself) and ensure their education is on track. While all this is important and will have to be considered, we often miss living in the moment, focusing on the finer aspects of life.....letting the child play, watch TV, waste time, idle, color outside the lines and dream. There's a lot that can happen while they are doing it, and this is what my personal experience has taught me.
I've seen more of 'who' she is by letting her go, than reigning her in
Children grow fast and grow independently. While we do all we can to support them, we need them to enjoy the life they have as much as they can. This time never comes back, but what they learn stays and defines their earliest memories.
So I was hoarding and cleaning for several hours drowned in memories. Hoarding can teach you a lot of things, can make you stop and think and can give you plenty of life lessons. Whoever says its a bad thing doesn't know that joys that come from it!
And what did I do after that?
I removed all her baby clothes to fold and launder, promptly packed them all up and put them back into storage again ...... to get them all out, and reminisce on them another cleaning day :)