Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Giving it Away

Every few years, our town does something called "bulky waste". Basically, you can put anything you want out on your curb - no garbage can necessary-  and on that one day, the town will pick it up and dispose of it for you. You don't have to figure out how you're going to get to the dump on the ONE weekend a month the dump is open, you don't have to lug whatever it is into your car, you don't have to take your chances with finding people to come take this stuff. If you can drag it to the curb, it's done.

Now before anyone gets all up in arms about how we ought to use Freecycle or what a horrible waste it is to just throw out everything or how could we be thrilled that our town in producing such a multitude of junk, it basically IS Freecycling. Every evening, you can watch people driving slowing through the neighborhoods in pick up trucks or big SUVs, scavenging whatever looks good. In the past, although we've put out a huge amount, by the time the town actually sends the garbage trucks, there is very little left to pick up. They've picked up completely broken and useless stuff - like our old well tank - and probably make a decent amount of money for scrap. Good for them.

The last time the town did this was in 2008, so it feels like it's been a while. Many in town seem downright giddy that they have brought it back. Adam and I seem to have accumulated a good amount of junk in the past six years and we have thrown ourselves into decluttering in a big way. We're skulking through the house in a "take no mercy" way, banishing things to the curb.

Rusted out, non-LED Christmas deer? Gone.

The remains of our first shed, which caved in under three feet of snow a few years ago? Bye bye!

Computer desk that Adam got in high school? Out the door.

The frame of the patio table? See ya!

Two old vacuums (that were decluttered to US), our broken patio umbrella, a spreader that doesn't work, battered lawn chairs, a wicker hamper that is falling apart and waiting to stab you under the fingernails? All gone.

We've got a long list of other things that won't be given quarter in our home, but we're trying to put things out a bit at a time, so everything is visible and as much gets picked up by the scavengers as possible. We are ruthless.

Except for the baby stuff.

I know, I know that realistically, we're done. The family is complete and I am at peace with that decision. We're in a great place. But somehow, it is incredibly hard to part with the baby stuff.

Adam and I were staring at the crib rails, currently holding court in a corner of our bedroom. In the past few months, both girls moved into toddler beds, and actually, Madison is now sleeping in her "big girl" twin bed, her crib stripped bare and abandoned in her room. We started to talk about what to do.

Adam: So what do we want to do about these?

Me: Ummm....I don't know. We won't be using them again.

Adam: So we should put them out? Or could we try to donate the cribs? Or sell them?

Me: No, Goodwill won't take anything a baby has slept in. And I thought I heard you aren't allowed to sell cribs? Maybe you are. But even if you can, they're both pretty chewed up. And it's not like these are handcrafted artisan cribs.

Adam: So we should put them out?

Me: I feel weird about just putting out the rail. No one will take just a rail. And then if we find out someone does want the cribs we won't have all four sides.

Adam: Madison doesn't use hers at all. Should we put the rail back on and put the whole crib out?

Me: Ummmm....I don't know.

We finally left it, reminding each other that we have a few more weeks to figure it out.

But I'm really not sure why we're hesitating. We are not picturing any more babies sleeping in cribs in our house. We aren't hoping we get to use these cribs again. There is no logical reason we need two cribs when both girls have outgrown the actual "crib", and we're staring at two spit up on, chewed up, stained rails. They are purely clutter. They should have been among the first things we hauled out. Why is it hard?

I think it's that they symbolize the last of the baby days. We've managed to give away and sell most of the smaller gear - the bouncers and swings and high chair. Burp clothes and towels have been turned into cleaning rags. I've been sorting through clothes and toys as Reagan outgrows them, making piles to consign, piles to sell, piles to donate, piles to pass on to friends. Although I've been cooing here and there over an adorable tiny dress or sleeper, I've generally been ok with this.

But the crib is hard to say goodbye to. When I was pregnant, it made the nursery feel like a nursery, rather than a room crowded with baby gear. Madison's crib saw her grow from a tiny newborn into a preschooler. Unlike the clothes, the gear, the toys, which all had a lifespan measured in months, this piece of furniture was constant for her first three and a half years. And even though she isn't using it, saying a true goodbye seems strange.

I don't have to say goodbye yet. I could give these cribs a pass until next time. I could scour Pinterest for ways to re-use them.

But if I do that, I'm just postponing the inevitable. I'm clinging to a material memory trying to slow the progression of time, but that isn't reality. The baby days are in their twilight. Both girls are growing into independent, feisty, individuals, who don't want to stay babies. And why would I want to keep them that way, when the little girls they are growing into are so amazing?

Today, the crib rails stay in our bedroom, and both rail-less cribs stay firmly in the girls' rooms.

Maybe in two weeks, I'll be ready to say goodbye. But if not, I'll know the end is coming.

And I'll be ok with that.
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