How We Honor Them

by Mrs. Smith on July 15, 2018

There are big downsides to having an ocean between you and your extended family.

One of those downsides is that when it’s time to clean out your parents’ basement… you aren’t there to help. Only 2 of the 4 kids were there, but they totally rocked it.

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Way to face a mountain of clutter and move that sucker out of there!

I’m so, so proud of them! And equally proud of Mom for being dragged along through that process and staying strong.

It is NOT easy to go through that kind of storage. Making decisions about a million different things, with all the memories attached to them. It’s heavy work.

For example: The mugs

They came from Germany, a gift from my never-married Great Aunt, who we saw just a handful of times. 4 octagonal mugs for the 4 kids; different colors on the outside, but white on the inside.

We loved those mugs and used them for years. There was something about them that felt special, that made us feel special. Someone on the other side of the world loved us. We were part of a set. We could be different, but we clearly belonged together.

They were like this, but octagonal and without saucers:

So, in excavating the basement last week, they found 3 of the 4.

“Don’t either of you want these????”

“Nope,” they said, “They were cool then, Mom, we loved them, but we don’t need them now.”

I get it. When you’re moving a basement mountain in a day, with just the 2 kids and the mom going up against it, the default answer is LET IT GO.

Still… If I had been there, I would have loved to take ’em. Not just for sentimental value, but for practical purposes as well. Just 2 days before, I was searching through amazon trying to find different-color-but-matching mugs for my kids. No joke!

We’re moving in a couple weeks to an interesting setup where there will be no dishwasher. #iwillsurvive
The plan is that each kid gets a water bottle and a smoothie-mug, their own plate/bowl, and they will be responsible for keeping it clean.

So, confession:
When my sister told me this sad tale, a little part of me squealed (literally) and squirmed (literally) and did the,
“What?! Nooooooooo, I can’t believe you got rid of those!!!!” thing.

They were obliterating a clutter mountain and you just can’t get mad about anything that goes on in that process, especially if you aren’t there to help… but… I could be sad. And I was.

So… I almost called my parents and asked them to go right back to that thrift store and find them. I bet they’d do it.
Heck, in just reading this, they might be tempted to… so read all the way through before you take off, okay?

I knew I shouldn’t. Letting go is liberating. I shouldn’t pour salt in that open wound. But but but… the mugs!!!
I felt tremendous guilt as I forced myself to tell said Sister what I planned to do.

(“No!” she said, “Don’t do it! Don’t be an enabler!!! There’s too much stuff! Don’t add to the guilt!”)

I quoted a line out of Hook, and hung up. Like, actually, abruptly hung up on her, which I never do.

“Don’t try to stop me, Smee… Smee, try to stop me!”Image result for smee try to stop me

Had the phone in my hand and everything. Thumb over speed dial.

I thought about holding those mugs again. That hefty, sturdy, German, ceramic, functional art. I thought about my kids using them and being reminded of that part of my growing up. It just would be So Cool to see another generation of kids, an ocean away from extended family, being part of a matching set.

But before I tapped that smartphone and started that awkward conversation…

I stopped myself. Took a deep breath. Said a quick prayer. Let my heart think about it.

If Aunt Lori were here, what would she want in this situation? What was she like? What did she value? Would she care about it like I do?

As I dove into my memories of her, I realized I don’t need the actual mug. It’s okay to let stuff go. We don’t honor our ancestors by keeping every little thing they owned or gave us. We don’t honor our childhood by hoarding all our stuff either.

We honor those who came before us by living honorably (imagine that!), by remembering them, by telling their stories, by learning from them, listening to them, and loving them.

It almost felt like I could hear her whispering, “Honor me by doing better than I did!”

It’s not about the stuff.

You can’t take stuff with you when you die. Someone has to go through it and throw it all away eventually.
Ugh! Where’s the fun in that?

So, it is with great gratitude that I immortalize those matching mugs & the love behind them in this post (even if I don’t have a picture of them), and, furthermore, thank my siblings for helping Mom let them go. Good job, everyone!
It’s probably a good thing I wasn’t there, actually. 😉

Stuff just does NOT matter.

People do.

We’re a matching set, with or without the mugs.

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Aunt Lori in the front, with my great grandma on the left and my angelic Omi on the right.
Was she not the cutest little kid ever?

But speaking of matching mugs…

Omi would probably say,
“Oh, Misi! You don’t need those old mugs. Psh. Get something nice that YOU want for your kids, and make it a whole set. Plates, bowls, all matching.”

Then I’d tell her about melamine (which is a recent discovery for me) and she’d clap her hands and say,
“Yes! Do that! Let’s go find some right now!”

And we’d go shopping.

I miss Omi. Every time I talk with my sister, I think of my grandma and the super-tight relationship she had with her sister her whole life. There’s just something special about having a sister you can be super-close to.Image may contain: 3 people, including Rod Mann and Lara Schlerf, people smiling, tree and outdoorConsider yourself tagged.

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