Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow: Getting Rid Of Baby Keepsakes Is The Worst
If you are the sentimental type in general, having kids only seems to make it worse. While I didn’t make a habit of hanging on to every little thing growing up, I did have a special place in my heart for items that reminded me of certain events or people. However, I was unprepared for the intensity of the feelings surrounding baby keepsakes for my kids. What started out as one small box has now morphed into more than I want to admit. I know I need to part with things but it’s harder than I expected. Much harder.
At first, the things I kept made perfect sense. A lock of hair from the first hair-cut, a cute bib from their first Christmas, their footprints on a piece of canvas. No one would fault me for any of that. Eventually, things went a bit pear-shaped. As they got older, I became desperate — worrying that by letting go of the tangible pieces of their baby and toddler-hood I would lose the memories that went along with them. That is why I now have seven or eight of my daughter’s old pacifiers. It’s the reason I kept not three or four baby outfits total, but three or four in EACH SIZE. The idea of tossing these things out or giving them away broke my heart.
Rationally, I know that the items have nothing to do with the memories. The memories are always there, no matter what. I guess it’s my worry that we literally cannot get their baby and toddler years back and by hanging on to these items, I guess I feel like I can revisit it a bit easier by touching things they used. I know, it’s nuts. My husband knows it’s nuts. He gets scared on the days where I organize the bins because he knows tears are imminent. I don’t like this about myself, trust me.
So, you’re probably wondering just how bad it is. At the moment, I have two large under-the-bed Rubbermaid containers crammed full of art projects, school papers, baby keepsakes, clothes I wanted to keep and all other manner of tchotchkes. For contrast, my mother kept two under-the-bed Rubbermaid bins for me and my two brothers for our whole live’s worth of keepsakes. From birth to graduation, everything she felt the need to hang on to fit in those containers. And do you know how many times I have seen any of these items since leaving home at 22? Zero times. I have never looked, never cared, never asked to see any of it. My mom admits she never really goes through it either but I suppose having it there is a comfort?
If you’re thinking my habit is maybe not so bad, keep in mind, my kids are only five and seven. We have many years left of school projects, concerts, sporting events and graduations where I will accumulate even more items I deem keep-worthy. I have gone through and weeded things out a handful of times but it’s always an ordeal and I always vow not to do it again afterward. In all other ways, I am not a clutter-bug and I hate keeping things I don’t need but when it comes to my kids, all bets are off. I have no real solution but thought some of you may be able to relate to the ridiculous train of thought that goes into this habit.