Just a short post today, as I get ready to help my mom prepare for her giant yard sale tomorrow. Thankfully, Mom is in good health and is downsizing from the three-bedroom home where my brothers and I grew up to a really lovely, much more modern condo. She’s not moving very far either, so she won’t have to say goodbye to any dear local friends. In fact, the condo is only about a mile from the old neighborhood, so even the neighbors she’s come to love and trust won’t be far from her. Oh, and many, many of her friends also live in the complex she’s moving into.
So this is—as much as any major move can be—a happy change in her life. A positive thing. And yet, there’s a sadness—often unspoken—about the whole thing too. The house she’s selling is the first and only one she ever bought with my dad, who died fourteen years ago. And although most of Dad’s clothing and personal items have been donated or given to people who wanted them, his gentle presence still inhabits the home, and whenever I go there, I sense it strongly, as well as his absence.
Today, then, my kids and I are headed up there to start going through the things she won’t be able to bring to the condo. Things that fall into the category of “not good or important enough to keep but not trash either.” We’ll put price tags on the dishes and drinking glasses we used as kids, old Halloween costumes, and the curtains and furniture that gave that home its character for so many years. My daughter asked if it’ll make me cry to do that, and I told her that I hope not. They’re all just things, after all, things that will most likely get used by other families much like ours. Memories are in your heart, I tell my kids, and my mom. And I firmly believe that. Possessions are nothing, in the scheme of things.
I’ve had yard sales before too. Several years ago–when we were certain we wouldn’t have any more babies–my husband and I hauled all but the most precious baby stuff out on the front lawn and spent a lovely day watching people younger than us find treasures in the items that we no longer had use for. We thought it might be hard seeing our old Pack ‘n’ Play get taken away by strangers, or our kids’ favorite ride-around toys and mobiles go off with other people, but in the end, it didn’t really bother us. Actually, it made us happy to see other people so happy to get what they wanted at bargain prices.
So I hope this sale will have the same vibe. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful, so that will help. But will I shed a tear or two when I see new people buying my dad’s old tools? Or his lawn mower? Will I cry when people walk off with boxes of my brother’s record albums, or the board games I used to play on the porch with friends on rainy days?
I honestly don’t know. If you care, stay tuned for next week’s post…