A few months ago, I went through my kids' playroom and tried to get rid of as many old toys as possible. I was ruthless with the puzzles and the teething toys and the rattles and the stuffed animals that had long ago become passé. I dumped a bunch race car tracks that we never bothered setting up and this pickup truck/farm toy that just kept playing the same obnoxious song over and over again. That one I actually had to remove from the house under the dark of night, lest it be rescued by one of the children who I'm pretty sure only brought that toy out when they wanted to send Mommy over the edge.
But the hardest thing to get rid of were the books. Now, I still have a toddler, so that was my excuse for keeping all the board and picture books, at least for now. But my five-year-old son has no desire to pick up Hippos Go Berserk anymore. He no longer wants to read the set-of-four Thomas the Tank Engine books we read together every single night during the last month or so before his sister was born. And the girl one? She's never cared for those books. They're just taking up room on the shelf.
But I can't get rid of them. I can't sell them at our yard sale. I can't donate them (who'd want them anyway, with pages missing and bites taken out of corners?)
These books are him. These books are her. These books mark the hours we've spent together cuddling on my bed reading, learning, laughing every time Baby Cookies brings in another Elmo book just to mess with me and her brother.
So, I'm not getting rid of them. I've never kept a baby book for either kid. These books are my baby books. These books are my memories. So I'm going through them bit by bit and writing little notes in each one to remind me of the good times we had while reading each specific book. How Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? was my son's first favorite book, the book he'd ask for every night right after he turned one. How Baby Cookies would laugh like a maniac at the end of Baby Loves Summer when Mommy shows up with the water hose. How Boy Child used to pronounce "clover" as "quo quo" while reading Thumper's Surprise.
If I get to a book and find I have nothing to write, then that's a book to get rid of.
When the kids officially done with the books, when they've officially moved on to bigger and better tomes, I'll box the old books up and keep them for when my kids have kids. And if I forget that I saved them, the kids will find all the notes after I die and they're going through my stuff. Maybe I should leave the coordinates to my desert meth fortune hidden in one of the messages, like code.
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