Throughout all of our family’s years, we’ve only held a few yard sales. I hate yard sales. I don’t enjoy the experience of strangers attempting to bargain my price down to a nickel. I completely understand that for some people it’s a game, a pastime, a fun challenge. But I would prefer not to engage with people on that level. If you want my old stuff, you’re going to have to pay for it! Haha. Seriously, I would prefer to donate my old stuff than to haggle over it. I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense to yard sale lovers, but you’ll just have to love me as I am.
But kids make us do things that run contrary to our nature, and this weekend was no different. Louisa wanted to raise some cash for concert tickets, and our neighborhood was about to hold their annual yard sale – it was a match made in heaven for her. And while part of me resisted, I could see that at the very least it was a good opportunity to do a little bit of cleaning out. Which is why the majority of my free time on the days leading up to and most of Saturday, the day of the sale, was spent in mourning for the past.
Pulling out so many baby items and toys that had long ago been stashed in the basement and various closets made me confront how distant we are from those baby days of the girls. The days when they sat in the little bath seat for safety; when the portable potty seat was placed in the trunk, just in case; when every plush toy was a new treasure to love; when the little learning games that were played over and over helped to nurture their young minds; how the hours spent reading and re-reading favorite books together were not so much about reading as they were about spending time together. Parting with those things was an act of squarely facing that those days are over.
Sniff. And sniff again.
But if things aren’t useful any longer, isn’t it better that a new young child was able to experience joy in them? And while the occasional haggler annoyed me on Saturday, they were counterbalanced by the little children whose dad took them to the sale to pick out a few items as a treat for them and probably a morning off for their mom.
In the end, we made a few dollars for Louisa and Annie to share; we did some long overdue cleaning of closets; we donated the unsold items to Goodwill; and we treated ourselves to dinner out on Saturday night at a local brew pub, complete with craft beer for me and Joe, a mushroom pizza for me, and ice cream for dessert for all. We shared a meal as a family which, in the end, is the most important thing. It may not have made the passage of time any easier, but it was a small reward for the time and effort spent confronting this mental and time consuming challenge.