From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise O Lord. Psalm 8:2 (NIV)
“Doesn’t this bother you?” I asked my middle daughter when she was 6 or so as we surveyed her room. It was covered with castles, battles long won and lost by various pirates and knights, Barbies, Barbie clothing, Bionicles from her brother and an assortment of her clothing.
“Nope,” she replied after thoughtfully surveying the mess. Hmm. Well, I wasn’t going to be able to wade through it if I let it go much longer, so I decided to dive in. Starting with her closet, I said, “let’s play a new game!” I hauled a large tote from her closet, full of stuffed animals. “You take a look at these, and tell me if there are any you’d like to give away to someone who would use them more than you”.
“Well, I don’t need this one anymore,” she said, handing me her first pick. Barney! Sigh. My baby is too old for Barney. This was not starting well for me! I gave her a sad face and she charitably decided to keep it.
Then she pulled out her pink Care Bear. “You want me to keep this, right?” she asked. Gasp – yes!! The bear she slept with every night for the first three years of her life? The one we had to get fishermen to spear out of the waters of the Caribbean when he was accidentally dropped over a pier in Mexico? The one I didn’t even realize had been relegated to the closet when she suddenly leapt from toddler to a little girl? Yes, we are keeping that bear! “Well, if you’re ready to give it away, you can do that,” I said, “but I’ll just keep it in my closet.” She unceremoniously tossed it in the beginnings of a pile.
I did my best to let her make the rest of her choices without question and by the end she had a nice collection to pass on to others and just a few that I was taking for “safe keeping”. Now, when she happily sits in her rocking chair, reading a story to the stuffed animal friends she kept, I think about how much present joy she’s gained by so easily letting go of the past.