I’ve written about this before but I think I just need to get this out for my own good.
I recently was in Texas visiting my grandparents. They are in their late 80s and had never met my son, thus our visit. As I puttered around their house, removing porcelain figurines and the 100th pair of reading glasses from my daughter’s mischievous hands I was struck with bittersweet emotions. I have so many memories in this house and of these two people. I am sad that they will soon be leaving this house, with the address I have memorized, for an easier living situation. But I’m also relieved for them.
They are old. My gramma forgets things. So far it’s been little things, like whether I’ve met my cousin or if she’s already told me about the birthday party they are going to on Saturday. But soon it may be big things, like why she turned the oven on and if she turned it off. Or when she last took her medication. My grandpa’s mind is still sharp as a tack but his physical health is declining. He weighs less than me and there were several times that he lost his balance and nearly fell. It makes me sad to see them like this and I find myself thinking, is this what I have to look forward to?
There is silverware (real silver) under my gramma’s bed that hasn’t been used in 20 years. There are Get Well Soon cards from a surgery my grandpa had nearly three years ago. There is stuff, just stuff everywhere. And as my grandparents begin to mentally and physically process this move they will be making, this stuff weighs heavily on their minds. My gramma had piles of things she wanted to know if I wanted to take home with me. Some things are family heirlooms, some things are trivial, like a sample package of paper towels. She opened a bag packed full of crocheted doilies, made by my great grandmother and great aunt. Gramma was going to make something out of them but never got around to it.
I can relate to that. I have many little knick knacks in my guest room closet. Things that I’m saving for a project that I haven’t gotten around to yet. This trip was a wake up call for me. Because I don’t want 80 years of stuff that I’ve saved because I’ve not gotten around to doing them. I don’t want to save the good china for special events anymore. I don’t want to save the pretty cards for special notes. I don’t want my kids to out grow their nice shoes before they get to wear them. I guess I just want to be generous with my stuff and adventurous with my daily plans. I hope that when I’m 80+ years old I will have few things and lots of good memories.