Parental hoarding: What "keepsakes" are actually worth keeping?


I am starting to resemble the Labyrinth (1986). Everything reminds me of the babe (sorry, I couldn't resist).

I need some advice. Today, my kid tried to give away a piece of art to his aunt and my best friend, Katie.  It's a self-portrait signed by the artist himself; the first that even included arms and legs and around 10 toes and fingers.  My reaction?  I didn't want to share this gem with his auntie, let alone acknowledge his generosity in giving something away that he clearly loves. I mean, WHAT IS GOING ON? Tearing up? Seriously? I hate clutter. I throw away bills and wedding invitations because they are taking up too much space on my tiny desk.

Apparently keepsakes from my spawn are a different story.  Unfortunately for him, Mr. Swirley has to endure endless conversations that start with, "Ugh, I can't wait until he [Ellis] is older and more reasonable...[pause] We only have 15 years left with EK. OH MY GOD HE IS MOVING OUT TOMORROW and will never call me again." ... And commence crying. Tell me I am not alone in this rabid clawing at air, right? RIGHT?

I have boxes upon boxes of "art" stashed under our bed,  precariously balanced upon one another in various closets, and of course tucked away in the garage.

EK lost an eyelash? I have it folded between two pieces of blank paper art thrown at me during pick-up from school. A shirt covered in spit-up from his first month on earth? It's in a box somewhere, quietly molding. That disgusting, salmonella-laden pigeon feather from under the EL? Tasty! I cannot bear to part with any one of these little memory pops.

How does one select what to keep vs. what to pitch? How do you not cry at the thought of every second being the last time your kid was 29573473734, 29573473735, 29573473736 seconds old?  Shit, I just missed out on some of those little moments typing this stupid post.

And, when did I decide I am OK looking like this anytime we bring up the topic of our kid getting older?

WHAT? You want me to throw away these 10,000  nearly blank pieces of paper? This is RIDICULOUS!!!

Yes, I realize this is ridiculous - but experienced parents, how do you decide what to let go versus what to keep? There are so many firsts to hold so dear. And even more gross things I know I need to pitch.

So yea. Help me weed out the pigeon feathers. Thanks.

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    Annie Swingen

    Chicago-based hyperbole enthusiast. Mom to a kid and sometimes my mom. Overboard (1987) obsessed weirdo. I like the funnies in life.

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