Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Holding On


I've had people tell me that I'm crazy, but I try to make a habit of saving each of my kids' doodles, drawings, and school 'projects' until I have a chance to ask them if they're ready to part with it. Believe me, space is at a premium in our apartment, so I don't intend to keep their stuff forever.

Every so often, we review everything and determine whether it is still something special to keep or if we are ready to say goodbye to it. In this age of digital photos, we also take some time to photograph some of the ones we want to remember. Thankfully, my kids are yielding enough to be able to handle this ritual rather well.

In general, I tend not to be overly kid-centric about everything. That is, our kids' interests sort of flow out of our own. They are busy going about my day along with me (or maybe just too young to want to differentiate themselves all that much). Although we focus on their needs a great deal, I wouldn't say we're the type of family where the kids run the show. But this is one of the areas where I put their desire to hold on to their stuff ahead of my own desire to toss it.

Why?

I think that it goes back to my own childhood. I've written before about how my mother is neat in the extreme. Museum-level-house neat. Nevertheless, she did allow us free reign over our stuff. Piles of papers lay stacked on a chair or dresser until I had a chance to sort them out. I had shelves and cabinets filled with shoe boxes of treasures and scraps of things from school, from friends, from around.

I realize that it is impossible to save every piece of art or every little memory for my kids. But to throw it out behind their backs would feel like a betrayal. I know of people who routinely purge their children's collections or even sell or give away toys that are still being played with in the name of organizing.

To me, home to a child is where they can feel sure of the fact that what is theirs will be there for them when they wake up and when they come home. Those little treasures do mean a lot to them at this age, and if those can disappear with no prior warning, then the sense of control and order they feel is made all that much more precarious.

7 comments:

Erachet said...

Yes! Good! No throwing things out! This is coming from an expert hoarder of childhood treasures. :)

the apple said...

That is the neatest round of fingerpainting I have ever seen! :)

My mother never liked saving anything that was clearly made by the teacher - she only liked things that my siblings and I made using our own creativity. I think we still have the bookmobile I made of Stuart Little in first grade, like 15 years ago or so.

orieyenta said...

I think it's super sweet that you do this.

I, on the other hand, can't bear to throw anything out...even now, it kills me to do it even if LO doesn't care a bit about them!

Jack said...

We have a few boxes that we bought at Costco for the explicit purpose of holding onto the kid's artwork.

Somethings are worth holding onto.

triLcat said...

My mom held on to a few things from each phase of our childhood.
That was before we had the option of taking digital photos and backing up all of our artwork of a lifetime on 1 dvd, though ;)
We moved a lot, and everything was hard to hold on to. We ended up each getting one drawer of space for our mementos. Just about enough...

LittleBirdies said...

When the projects come home from school or the nicer ones they did on their own (not just scribbles), I put them in a box. Every so often I go through the stuff and take pictures of some and keep some. I can't ask my kids, as they are the type that would never let me throw any of it out.

aoc gold said...

O Sailor, Come Ashore

(Part I)

O sailor, come ashore

What have you brought for me?

Red coral , white coral,

Coral from the sea.

(Part II)

I did not dig it from the ground ,

Nor pluck it from a tree;

Feeble insects made it

In the stormy sea.

~by aoc gold