Why it's hard to get rid of things.....
As a member of the board of Northlands Storytelling Network, I participated in a retreat a few years back to help us define our mission as an organization. Part of the retreat also allowed us to do the same for ourselves as storytellers. One topic that somehow came up was "stuff" and what to do with it. Seems that for many storytellers, an accumulation of stuff is an occupational hazard, because once the question was broached, most of us said, "YES! What do we do with our stuff?"
I have stuff. I admit it. I have been trying very hard to divest myself of much of my stuff, and I'm making progress. Readers of this blog know, for instance, that I happily gave away several hundred dollars worth of camera equipment last fall. I regularly give away books and scrapbooking supplies I no longer need or will never use. I admire the homes of others that are spare and serene, creating space to think. I don't know if my house will ever be such a house, even though I'm really trying to keep only the things that matter.
Problem is, everything matters. I am realizing this as I have gathered up some more things that I'll never use to give to someone who will use it. I have a nice stack of lovely all-natural fabrics, ready to go to an area Waldorf school for use in handwork projects. This fabric is the remaining stock from a small cottage business I had about twenty years back--"Fleecy Friends." I was making Waldorf style dolls to custom order, and these fabrics were my stash for making the clothing. It has been years since I made any of these dolls, but I still have two of them.
One for Cooper.
One for Taylor.
Both my boys, along with all my nieces and nephews, had their very own Waldorf dolls, made with eyes and hair to match their own. Taylor just kept his doll in with all his other soft toys, never paying it much mind, so it looks almost new.
Not Cooper's. "Dolly," as it was known in our household, had to have a sweater and pjs. He was changed almost as often as the Thursday night lineup on network tv. He came with us everywhere for a couple years. I can remember with a smile one trip to the Como Park Zoo with my sister-in-law, her kids, my mom and my kids. We had brought the stroller along, but my son didn't feel the need to have a ticket to ride. However, Dolly needed to ride, because "he gets tired." There came a point in the day when my mother had had enough of pushing a little doll, albeit one made of completely natural fibers, around in a full-sized stroller in a public place, and told Cooper he had to "take care of his baby now." He most willingly accomodated her request.
Cooper towers over me now. He is struggling to find his own way, stroller-less but driving a Saturn, into adulthood and his purpose in life. Though it's a struggle, I can think fondly of his care and concern, look at photos of him doting on Dolly, and know that the foundation is strong, even if the girders of late adolescence are weak.
Giving these fabrics away is like giving away some of my stories. Each doll made had its own story. So too with all of my stuff. My father is even worse in his "packratting." My youngest brother once wisely commented that what needs to be done is to sit with Dad, let him tell his stories about his stuff, and then he can give it away.
Taking my brother's advice, I've just shared the story of my pile of fabrics and a chapter of my life, just one chapter that tells the story of who I've become, at the same time telling the story of who my son is yet to become.
For those reading who might want a similar doll for their child--and why wouldn't they?--fear not. Magic Cabin, which started as a small family business much like my own, continues to sell online. Check it out!