I made the mistake of looking in the box before I loaded it into our minivan.
I felt like a spy, a thief, and an archaeologist all at once.
There I was standing on the cold cement floor of our garage, stealthily sorting through sacred artifacts of the past, without any intention of revealing my secret encounter.
Plush sparkly unicorns and squishy teddy bears.
A well-loved octopus and a long friendly python.
All my kids’ stuffed animals placed discreetly inside an oversized packing box.
And then there were the blankies. I wasn’t prepared for how much a few pink, blue, and yellow soft fleeces with stains and smells, some dating all the way back to their first week of life, would fill me with such intense longing for the innocent years of their childhood.
Although my kids haven’t asked about these particular contents in months, I still felt the pangs of guilt. Shouldn’t I allow my kids to release their keepsakes when they were ready?
Surely, I was breaking some cardinal rule of motherhood: though shalt not donate anything without child’s consent.
Why couldn’t I fix my inability to cope with clutter around the house? How could I lessen my disdain for collecting and hoarding sentimental items?
I had purposefully packed them up during our move last year hoping to never see them again, hoping my kids would forget. Then, I made doubly sure my husband put them out of reach and out of sight once they were removed from our storage unit.
But as I rolled up to the Value Village drop-off site that morning, I nearly caved.
Perhaps I could pull just one blankie from the box.
The blue one with the silk edges.
The one I wrapped my firstborn in when he weighed only 8 pounds.
A treasured gift to his future child.
I jumped out of my car, opened the trunk, and within seconds the deed was finalized.
I deposited the large box into the hands of the smiling attendant almost without realizing what I had done.
I didn’t usher a word to her about the pieces of my heart piled inside the box. I never reached out or cried, wait! I kept quiet, smiled, and talked about the sunshine instead. Then I hopped back into my car and sped away.
This is the way I navigate change in life.
And it’s how I’ll handle our move this weekend, our second move in a year.
Although I might quietly fiddle around in the box of memories for a long while and grieve our decision to leave this place for nights on end, I will drive away with renewed respect and excitement for The Process.
Life always seems to welcome my release of people, possessions, traditions, moments, seasons, and identities with cheerful, open arms. She’s ready even when I’m not.
Life isn’t frightened by the cyclical nature of all things, it’s how she’s learned to thrive.
Instead, Life waits for us to recognize the flow and let go when we’re ready, gladly waving us on as we travel down her wild waters into our next adventure.
One day I will tell my children what I did, but until then, I hope they learn to trust in the goodness of Life and enter fully into The Process no matter what they must leave behind.