Weeks ago I gave son number three the charge to go through his closet and throw out all but ten t-shirts. He had so many t-shirts from places he'd been and clubs he'd belonged to, or that had been handed down from his brothers, that they no longer fit on the hangers. He had more clothes than the rest of us combined. So last night he did that, and he piled the "rejects" on his bed to sort into "throw-away" or "donate-able." That last sorting part of the job was left to me.
As I folded and sorted and bagged, I found myself undergoing some weird emotions. Folding up my older son's shirts (now handed down to son number three) felt like folding up my son himself and bagging him away. I suddenly missed him intensely. He's been away from home for about three years now, and it felt like I'd just said goodbye all over again. The t-shirts from past activities and acknowledging past adventures brought back great memories. The shirts from far-off exotic places felt hard to part with, even though my kids have outgrown them all. I felt as if the kids were outgrowing their childhoods. And I wasn't ready for them to do that yet. Funny what a scrap of printed cloth will do to you, isn't it?
But if he could let go of these things, so could I.
I admit I kept four of the rejects -- two family reunion t-shirts that I want to use the fabric from to make a project (I don't know what yet) -- and an old BYU t-shirt that maybe a cousin will want. And one piping college shirt that's practically new and could go to another kid in the pipe band. The rest are bagged and waiting to be donated.
The first step in downsizing...and it's not even my stuff. If it's this hard to let go of my children's things, what will it feel like to let go of my own stuff?