There’s a pile on the dining room table. Seen through Cameron’s eyes, it’s as good as Christmas. Our neighbour’s son Marco is clearing out some of his old toys to make room for new stuff. Guess who came home laden with so much stuff that he needed Marco’s help?
Seen through my eyes … on the one hand, hooray! Good-as-new stuff, for free. But really? Cameron’s room is filled to the brim. Anything more and it’ll take some serious muscle to force his door closed. His drawers are jammed full, he’s got so much stuff (mostly art and some books he’s refused to get rid of) piled on his dresser that it’s threatening to slide off. His closet is packed between clothes, dress-up stuff, a few toys, and more art. Bookshelf? Crammed. Cupboard? Let’s just say it’s not bare. There are three square Ikea bins at the foot of his bed overflowing with toys. Under his bed he’s shoved some race track and beyblade things. And the small bookshelf that serves as a night stand? So many books we couldn’t force any more in, plus nicknacks and … well … stuff for lack of a better word. Oh, and then there’s the pile of toys that just don’t have homes on his play rug, and a couple of half completed puzzles. There is no concept of ‘clean up your room’ in our house – Kate has this problem too, with a couple of years on Cameron – there aren’t enough places to put things away!
It’s an embarrassment of riches.
But he won’t get rid of anything. Neither will Kate. Even broken things, things he hasn’t touched in over a year, things he lost actual interest in ages ago.
When he called from next door to ask if he could bring home some things, I answered that he could, but to choose wisely … because for every new thing he brought into the house, he’d need to clear away something old to make room for it.
And so, the pile stands on the dining room table, awaiting space to be cleared. He’s now got a pile on his bedroom floor, one that I assembled, of my suggestions. I’m not cruel, I do have a pretty good idea of what has actual sentimental value to him. Buzz Lightyear remains in the spot he’s guarded for two years. Not a single stuffie went into that pile. His wooden train tracks are still in the closet. He’s already reluctantly moved some items into a bag of give-away items, and it’s clearly tearing him up inside.
Why, Mommy? Can’t we get me some new shelves? There’s a bit of room under my bed, and under my drawers, too?
I’ve made it clear to him. I’m not making him throw out his toys. But he has to choose … the new stuff, or the old?
It’s tough to let go of things sometimes. Things seem to represent so much happiness to us in our society. Things, our collection of stuff, serves as mnemonic aids of good times gone by, of loved ones, of places. We wrap ourselves up in a cocoon of nostalgia and physical representations of love, acceptance, and security. I can’t blame him for having a tough go of it with this latest challenge – I too dislike letting go. I wish I could let him just hoard all the things his little heart desires.
But if I did? We’d be renting a warehouse to store them in by the time he’s ten.