October 29, 2013: Just Can't Let it Go

Our babysitter extraordinaire, Lisa Fey, with Benny and Zach
Grant has a weakness. He just can't let things go. I get on him to make hard decisions as we clean his room and go through accumulated stacks of paper.

Me: "Grant, we can give this toy to Goodwill. You haven't played with it in years."

Grant: "But it was a gift from Grandma, Mom. We can't give it away."

Me: "Grant, there is no reason to hold on to that birthday card from two years ago."

Grant: "But, Mom, Aunt Joan wrote me a note in it. We can't throw it away."

You get the picture. Cleaning out a closet or a drawer with Grant is a painful process. I pride myself on tidy spaces and a less is more philosophy, so I tend to cringe on Grant's hoarding tendencies.

In Grant's defense, it really is the "stuff" with his perceived sentimental value that he wants to hold on to. Unfortunately, with our large circle of friends and family, most of his possessions have a personal tie.

After shaking my head while looking through his cluttered backpack, I soon made a self-analysis. My "aha" moment came as I  reached in the pantry for the Tupperware of crackers. As I saw the steadfast art taped to the bottom, I realized that I was the pot calling the kettle black.

This art created by a mini-Zach Lane has been affixed to my cracker container for fifteen years. I knew it was a long time, but received the affirmation after rummaging through old pictures and finding the evidence in a photo dated November 3, 1998.

On that particular night, little Lisa Fey was babysitting my two year-old cowboy and five year-old school boy. Based on the picture, it appears the activities for the night included Lego creations and Halloween arts and crafts. If you note the markered cut-outs taped to the wall, you will see these same cut-outs still affixed to my Tupperware.

My recollection is that Zach wanted to save his drawings and taped them to the bottom of the container for his round-and-round crackers (Ritz crackers). He thought this would be both a good decoration and a safe, sturdy space for his art.

It is now fifteen years later and they haven't moved. I can't do it. Every time I take out the Saltines or Ritz, I notice the Halloween crafts and smile. I've never even had an inkling to remove them. Even when they clash with my Easter decorations.

I am so glad now that I have chosen to keep them in their original state. A personal tie. Sentimental value. The vision of the forgotten picture above stays on my mind. And I think of those sweet boys each time I reach for a salty indulgence.

Maybe Grant's approach isn't as flawed as I think. I will meet him halfway on his collection philosophy. My new rule: Save in moderation; just make good choices. Now let's see if Grant will bite.

My pantry treasure

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