grandparenting, daily life, motivation, anxiety

NO STRINGS attached

I am downsizing….purging….removing unused items from my house. The change of seasons, always motivates me to clean my closets, storage areas, and just rethink the space I am using in our home. Time to get rid of the worn out, ugly, unused or no longer used items.

Now that grandpa and I are retired, and the grandchildren have gotten much older and busier, some purposes we once had for our home, have changed. We have been blessed with 11 grandchildren, plus the child growing, we will get to meet in March, when it will be born.

One grandson lives out of state, but the rest, luckily are within driving distance. We get to visit or entertain the other grandkids at least occassionally. It is just, not as often at our house anymore since babysitting is less frequently needed.

I have been collecting things for grandchildren to play with, when they come to visit, for years and I might add….even before we had our first grandchild. With six children between my husband and I (a blended family), I knew God would bless us with at least one so what did I have to loose by collecting toys I found at yard sales.

We add new things (toys,books,games) as they would grow, and purge or give away things (to a grandchild individually) some really had grown to love, that others might ignore. I have my special set of books I like to read to them, that I won’t give away. I love to read stories.

Today, before grandpa was going to leave to help his son (a building contractor) on a job, I stopped him. He’s retired but still likes to help once in awhile if called upon.

I wanted to send him along with a weaving kit, one of our granddaughters enjoyed the most, at our house. It was not something other grandchildren cared about, and less frequent visits made better sense, to get rid of it. I took notice many times she would come to our house, that she really liked it, and her parents still had not gotten her one.

Still, after giving myself a chance to reconsider, so many thoughts went through my head which is why I am writing today. Maybe you can help me figure this out. Being analytical, I do this for just about anything I give away or throw out. It is almost maddening and not sure where this comes from.

I thought…”Do you think she will loose all the pieces?”
…”Will her parents throw it away if she does not keep track of it?”
…”Will it make her happy?”
…”Is the container it is in good enough….wait….I will find a better bag to put it in.”
…”Should I just tell her she can borrow it for awhile (so mom won’t throw it out)?”

Mom has been known to throw away stuff that is perfectly good…just because the kids did not pick up after themselves. YIKES! (I know…..keep out of other people’s ways of parenting….I do!)

My husband said, “Why don’t you just keep it here then if you don’t know if you want to give it or not!”

I think my husband was tired of the excuses I was coming up with, why not to give the item away to a child, not fully a responsible adult. I think he was getting impatient with me and needed to leave to meet his son.

Finally, I thought of, once again, how much this granddaughter enjoyed this crafty toy and how she would react to receiving it. I decided too….I would rather see it used at her home more often, then sitting at our home barely used. Also, these items, leave for me an emotional attachment to them. They remind me of days now gone by, spent with grandchildren, playing with these things.

I need to learn to let go of these idols. In a sense they are. Anything that binds me to them, holds me in bondage. I need to be free to allow God to fill my emotions, not things that I want to cling to. It is hard. I am not sure my assessment is accurate. I am not a psychologist or an expert.

I am working each day to give away things that have lost their usefulness and purpose in my life, in our home. I finally took down artwork on my walls I was clinging to that I didn’t even like very much, but kept up because of the relationship I once had to the person I got them from. Silly! I hang on to old yearbooks my kids were ready to toss out years ago. I think, I can finally let go of them.

I love photographs in magazines of beautiful homes with no clutter and everything in it’s place. I know that isn’t reality, but I can come closer to having a beautiful home if I tried. There are so many things around us that are gloomy, worn out, or could be replaced with something more durable, more organized, or more beautiful, if that is the function or look or purpose we want for our homes.

It does not take a lot of money. I am very frugal, which makes me also a very good scavenger. I will look into many different places before I finally find that one thing I was looking for. I don’t buy on impulse. I stay away from retail shops. I go to thrift stores, yard sales and sites on the internet that post something in your neighborhood someone is getting rid of.

It is how I found our dining room table and chairs, our patio set, my piano and many other dressers, tables, plants and toys. Wealthy folks I used to clean for would get rid of perfectly good sofas and chairs or lawn ornaments I love, that I got to purchase from them or inherit.

If you can be patient, you can receive the desires of your heart as God promises to all who are in Christ. He is not Santa Clause, nor do I want him to be. But I do feel blessed when something I have been hoping to find, suddenly, one day catches my eye.

I think if you have a giving heart, you will receive all that you need. We just need to give, realizing the “first thing” that comes to our mind in our thoughts to do the giving, is usually the best. I think God has a lot to do with that.

If we have “second thoughts”, and we start being confused about the whole thing, that is from the enemy, the devil. He always brings confusion. He wants us to hold onto “things”.

I don’t like things going in the landfill, unless truly garbage. I like to donate to a charity, give to a neighbor, friend or family member, or find another use for something before I would just throw something away thoughtlessly.

The less I am attached to things in this world, the more freedom I feel I have. I feel I can breath a little easier. I have more space, less clutter. Less to clean around, less to maintain and manage.

I had less trouble letting my children go to become adults. It was not that difficult to cut the apron strings that held them to my side. Yet….I find it is harder to let go of those small things that remind me of grandparenting. I know I will always be a grandparent, but the grandchild will not always be there. The item holds their memory….their fingerprints, their
voice and seeing them smile while they played with it in the room.

Do you have one thing you are clinging too and not sure why you are? Would it be good for you to let it go?

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

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