As you may have guessed, I’m not great at getting rid of stuff. This has worked out well for some things, such as my husband, who I have kept around for more than half of my life. But it does not always work out so well. For example, I may have kept my son’s umbilical cord stump in a drawer in his nursery for a few months. That’s right – I couldn’t bear the idea of parting with the black, hardened remains of my first child’s bellybutton. Luckily I got some sage advice from a mom friend of mine about this situation. When she saw the stump laying in the corner of the diaper drawer, she recognized it immediately (it still had that hospital clip thing on it) and said: “OH my god, what the hell is wrong with you, that is so effing disgusting, throw it AWAY!” When I began to protest she said, “Look, it’s not OK to hoard rotting body parts.” Which is just good advice for all new moms, and people in general. I sadly wrapped the stump in tissue, said my farewells, and placed it gently in the trashcan.
I still wonder where it is today.
But what about hoarding things that are not rotting body parts? Despite what you might think from watching TLC, there is just no clear-cut rule. Right now I am trying to come to terms with getting rid of a sentimental piece of furniture in my house:
To people who do not attach emotional value to every inanimate object in their lives, that is just a banged up rocking chair and footstool that could probably get $50 at a garage sale. To me, though, that is the place where I learned how to be a mom, where I fell so in love with my little babies and their long eyelashes and chubby cheeks, where I learned how to soothe them and make them giggle, where I cursed everyone who told me that breastfeeding was natural and beautiful, where I fought sleep and lost hundreds of times. I have the clearest memories of my husband passed out on the nursery floor, a chubby baby sleeping on my lap, and rocking back and forth in that chair for hours, convinced that all the goodness in the world at that moment was right next to me and wrapped up in my sweet little family.
So maybe you can understand why I don’t just want to sell it to some a-hole scammer on Craig’s List.
But the chair just doesn’t fit in our house any more and I know its days are numbered. The kids are on to their new big kid furniture, their new toys that need floor space. And I’m slowly starting to realize that that is what little kids do: they push you forward, constantly on to the next thing, excited for what is to come. And most days I go along happily and share in their excitement, but sometimes I just cling desperately to those sweet, fleeting moments that have already come and gone and won’t come again.
So in honor of my milk- and snot-covered rocking chair with the deflated cushions and wobbly right arm and matching broken nursing stool (I will not put any of that in the Craig’s List ad), here is my favorite song about rocking. If you are as scared of old-timey carnies and tattooed ladies as I am, just avert your eyes and listen to the bluegrassy magic.
Apparently Hootie from Hootie & The Blowfish (not the OTHER Hootie) covered this song, and really enraged some of the commenters on this video. Hootie is not the first person I think of when I think of sentimental songs, so I chose to link to this version. But I do think of Hootie quite often, and fondly, because once I danced with a boy to a Hootie song. It was Let Her Cry.
Thank you, Hootie. I think I will.